Congo's disabled left to fend for themselves
Private organizations are trying to help.
For many, life in the Democratic Republic of Congo is difficult, but for persons with disabilities, life is exceptionally miserable. And despite a variety of efforts to improve their lot, the government continues to neglect this major segment of society.
Life for Congo's disabled is particularly difficult without assistance.
Patrick Pindu, coordinator of the National Federation of Associations of People Living with a Disability in Congo (FENAPHACO), spoke out about these conditions at the Day of Sharing and Solidarity, and event organized to bring these concerns to international light. According to Pindu, "Amongst people with disabilities, 90 percent are illiterate, 93 percent are jobless and 96 percent live in an unhealthy and inhumane environment."
Many disabled people in DR Congo have no access to even basic care. Despite lip service from the government, there are no laws that ensure proper care, sanitation, or access for disabled persons. Most are turned onto the streets to beg where they get little sympathy.
Several organizations have opened facilities to assist the country's large population of disabled persons, but the facilities are small and poorly funded. Jean Etienne Makila, explained, "We set up the National Training Institute for People with Disabilities more than three years ago, where they can learn appropriate technology for the production of soap, perfume, improved bread and so on. This will help them to care for themselves." Makila is himself disabled, but he is one of the lucky few who has the resources he needs to stay healthy and mobile.
In other parts of the country, the Catholic Church has funded several projects. In Kikwit, the church has two schools for disabled children. It is hoped that the church can do its part to improve the lives of the children before they must make their own way on the streets.
Everybody knows, the government isn't going to do much to help anytime soon.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: DR Congo, disabled, charity
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