Children with disabilities, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds who live on the edge of society and in care centres, are often overlooked and forgotten.
Ahead of National Children’s Day on 3 November, the need to raise awareness of these “invisible children” is at an all time high with 293 000 – 346 000 children with disabilities in South Africa according to the World Health Organisation.
As a joint venture between the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) and the National Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy (NAPCP), a Nappy Run fun run event will be held on National Children’s Day at the Johannesburg Zoo as part of the Nappy Run campaign.
CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
The Nappy Run campaign, from 3 October to 3 December, aims to raise awareness of the circumstances and living conditions of children with disabilities and appeals to the public to donate nappies of all sizes. With a target of 400 000 for 2012, Nappy Run aims to quadruple the 100 000 nappies collected in 2011.
“Most women will know the cost of a pack of newborn nappies,” said Therina Wentzel, National Director for NCPPDSA, before adding, “Now imagine the cost of larger sized nappies as an ongoing expense on your weekly shopping list.
“Worse still, imagine the kids in volunteer-run centres who are incontinent and unable to go to the toilet themselves, and then imagine the affect on these children of not having nappies!”
Most of South Africa’s children with disabilities have to deal with neglect and suffering associated with poverty as well as not having their basic needs, and human rights, met.
The issue of being “wet” due to not having nappies impacts not only the comfort of a disabled child, it hugely effects their dignity and self esteem. Similarly and stemming from misconceptions, ignorance and a lack of understanding of disabilities, persons with disabilities can also be treated as secondary citizens.
Society requires a deeper understanding and a shift in focus from the disability to the capability of each individual.
The NCPPDSA, the national NGO for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with physical disabilities, believes that society’s knowledge and understanding of disability issues is directly related to the level of responsiveness to the needs and rights, and social inclusion, of persons with disabilities.
Following the immense success of its 17-year running Casual Day disability-awareness campaign, NCPPDSA identified the need for a public awareness drive around children with disabilities.
From now until 3 December, public nappy donations can be dropped at any of the approximately 300 participating Alpha Pharm pharmacies across the country as well as Associations for Persons with Disability’s offices, Cerebral Palsy offices and the national office for the NCPPDSA in Edenvale.
Members of the public are also invited to take part in the 5km fun run on 3 November at Johannesburg Zoo.