Handicap This! September-October 2014

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

by Suzanne Rose

The government of London has been accused of failing in its duty of care towards disabled people, after an inquest heard how a disabled woman wrote a suicide note blaming the “bedroom tax” for her decision to kill herself. The bedroom tax forces homeowners to pay for unoccupied bedrooms in their home. Stephanie Bottrill wrote in her letter about the stress and anxiety the government’s housing policies were causing her. She expressed her unhappiness at being pushed by the housing department to decide in just half an hour whether she would move to a smaller property.

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The nearly two million people with disabilities in Zambia face significant barriers to HIV prevention, testing and treatment. While the government has made significant progress in responding to the crisis, few programs are accessible to people with disabilities, and social stigma prevents their access to HIV services on an equal basis with others.

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Schools in Kibera, Kenya, often reject children with disabilities. Stephen, age 18, has cerebral palsy and has never been able to attend school more than a few days. He is left alone in his home watching television while his mother has to go to work. One school his mother tried wanted extra fees for his care. There are no schools in Kibera for children with special needs, and teachers of supposedly integrated schools often argue that they don’t have adequate facilities to accommodate children with disabilities. Schools that will take them are poorly staffed with many workers not caring about the children but only about the extra money they get for enrolling them.

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