Training for case workers for people with disabilities

Peter Danku about his visit to Ethiopia for We are Able!

“She did not have legs anymore. They were amputated. The doctor explained to her how leprosy had caused irreversible damage. I looked at the girl – her intensely sorrowful gaze stayed with me all day,” says Peter Danku of Leprazending. He travelled to Ethiopia for the project We are Able! and visited the Alert Hospital in Addis Ababa.

Before his visit to the hospital, he assisted with a training session on how to support and coach people with disabilities. “It was great to see the dedication the 18 future trainers brought to their work. Some of them have a disability themselves. They live in remote areas where the need is great. They know from personal experience what is needed to gain a place in society and be self-reliant. They are familiar with the legal and judicial situation for the rights of people with disabilities.”

Involving the government

He continues, “They are the designated individuals not only for assistance but also for connecting people with disabilities with employees of local governments. This lets us get the local governments involved – which is badly needed! We lobby at higher levels of government to pave the way for inclusion and access to proper nutrition for people with disabilities.

New draft legislation

Peter says with a big smile, “Some good news to share is that we are preparing new draft legislation for disabilities. We are doing this under the overall direction of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and partner organisations that focus on people with disabilities. It is true that we still have to take the necessary steps before the legislation is enacted. But when the time comes, this law will promote the progress of our work. I am very happy that we can work on this!”

Shining eyes

The evening after his visit to the hospital, Peter flew back to the Netherlands. However, before he got on his flight, he felt he had to return to that girl. “She was in the middle of a very difficult time. The flowers and chocolate I gave her would not take away her pain, at most they could soften it for a moment. But they made her eyes shine. That girl, she is the kind of person for whom We are Able! was created,” he says.