Children with Disabilities in Senegal: The Hidden Reality

  • Children with Disabilities
Pages: 80
Year of Publication: 2011
Country: Senegal

There are commendable initiatives by the government of Senegal with regards to persons/children with disabilities. The government has initiated a number of programmes aimed at facilitating the integration of persons with disabilities into the  general economic and social fabric. Among these a note worthy is the Inclusive and Special Education Project (PEIS) which places a special emphasis on the inclusiveness of the education system. In addition, the Ministry of Social Action has implemented the National Programme of Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR) which was launched in 2006 with an annual budget of more than 350 million (CFA). Alongside the government, rehabilitation institutes and various national and  international NGOs also play crucial role in providing support and service to children with disabilities in Senegal.

In addition to the current existing policies and programmes relative to inclusion, there has been new hope inspired by the Law of Social Orientation, the process for which was set in motion by the Inter-Ministerial Council on Oct. 30, 2001. Under this landmark legislation, persons with disabilities in Senegal now have the legal right to participate in sports and leisure activities; to have access to artistic training centres and to the protection of their works of art. This legislation also calls for the establishment of government run sports facility branches that will specialise in activities targeting persons with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the protection of rights of persons with disabilities in general, and children in particular, is still an area of concern in Senegal. In many families, children with disabilities are still viewed negatively, often being considered a source of shame, a curse, and a burden. The community perception of a child with disabilities  as well does not facilitate for the social integration of children with disabilities or respect for their rights. This limits the effectiveness of the international agreements signed by the government of Senegal. As a result, free access to public services such as health and education as prescribed by the various international accords remains more a wish.

This study resulted in a number of encouraging findings. Interestingly, the majority of parents of children with disabilities (74.4%) are aware of the children’s rights to access services such as free education, the right to equal opportunities as everyone else, the right to health, but especially the right to not be injured or mistreated. Only a quarter of the children with disabilities had not been registered at birth (23.5%), those with multiple disability (40.9%) having the least registration rate. The results related to income showed a glimpse of the more or less non-dependent character of the households’ vis-à-vis charity or donations because these sources account for only 1.1%. However, approximately 88.2% of respondents reported that their household income does not cover basic needs. The result also showed that the main source of income for Senegalese in both rural and urban areas comes primarily from the informal sector or agriculture.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Located in: Publications

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