|Photo Credit: Philip Morgan|
During the opening session, delegates introduced themselves and shared why they work with disabled persons or in rehabilitation services. Delegates from Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia, represent ministries, non-profits, health care facilities, disabled persons organizations, and individuals with disabilities. It became quickly apparent that, for many of these senior leaders, their work is much more than just a job. Two participants’ introductions exemplified this, Sister Margret Mweshi and Vincent Kaduma.
Sister Margret is a senior lecturer at the University of Zambia, but was attending the program representing the Zambian Italian Orthopaedic Hospital, run by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi. She explained, “My work is at the University, but I am at the hospital to do the Lord’s work.” She described her initial experience with disabled children, which led to her call to become a Catholic Sister, and continues to motivate her everyday.
Vincent works with the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled and is a polio survivor. He was happy to share his outlook on disability: “The way I see it, we are all disabled. If we aren’t disabled on the outside then we may be disabled on the inside. And if you don’t agree with that, than maybe you will agree that if we aren’t disabled, we are all on our way to becoming disabled, and that is why I do this.”
With such a passionate group of delegates we look forward to updates on their work. Over the next nine-months, these teams will each address a problem they have identified in their own country that is preventing persons with disabilities full participation in society.