Disabled Persons Organisations Challenged to Work Toward more inclusive Disaster Risk and Reduction Plans

Pictured: Central and Western participants taking a group photo with Mr Setareki Macanawai during the Disaster Inclusive Workshop in Nadave. 

“You are here because you have been chosen to represent persons with disabilities from your communities so make the most of it”, this were the words of Pacific Disability Forum chief executive officer Setareki Macanawai.

All persons with disabilities need to be identified, empowered and respected, says Pacific Disability Forum chief executive officer Setareki Macanawai.

In opening the Fiji Central and Western Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction Management workshop in Nadave, Mr Macanawai emphasised the importance of being the voice of the voiceless within communities.

“As the voice for the voiceless, we have to do the right things, working together with other disabled persons organisations, partners and community members to bring about change.”

Disability inclusive development officer Shane Antonio, who presented on the twin track approach to disability and development, said disability, is an evolving concept and it resulted from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hindered their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

“Impairment is a physical, intellectual, mental or sensory characteristic or condition, which places limitations on an individual’s personal or social functioning in comparison with someone who does not have that characteristic or condition,” Mr Antonio said.

“Disability is the disadvantage and exclusion which arise as an outcome of the interactions between people who have impairments and the social and environmental barriers they face due to the failure of society to take account of their rights and needs.”

Twenty – five persons with disabilities and representatives from Ba, Cuvu/Nadroga, Lautoka, Nadi, Ra, Rewa, Serua, Tailevu North, Tailevu South, Tavua were part of the three-day workshop.

The workshop will be held over the next three days to develop capacity of persons with disabilities and their representatives to empower them on a disability inclusive disaster management.

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