People with special length impairments, commonly known as ‘little people’, have so far been feeling excluded from the government’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) programs and feel they should be part of the beneficiating community.
She says little people seem to be excluded from the government’s EPRS policies while they need support to improve their everyday living standards, claiming Programs like Vision Umurenge Vision Program (VUP), Girinka, Ubudehe and more programs, have been rare to little people, according to Marie Appoline Buntunimana, the director of the National Union for Little People (RULP).
“We need to be included in different government policies, to be among the beneficiaries, because we have not been getting the chance to be among the beneficiaries of different government EPDRS programs like Girinka, Mutuelle, VUP and Ubudehe Community among others,” she said.
“Many of us have attended classes, but we are hardly getting jobs due to our length. Even at our homes we do not feel comfortable for being underrated. As a result, we always feel nervous and bored with the situation that we have been experiencing,” she continued.
Buntunimana claims the government should be more supportive to little people in all aspects of life and more efforts should be injected to change mindset of the community so we can feel comfortable in their respective communities, and EDPRS policy inclusion would be instrumental in bearing confidence and the feeling of togetherness in the communities.
“A number of little people have dropped out of their schools because they were not at the level of supporting the way people were treating them at school, by especially making a crowd or queue around them as if something strange happened to them. And this makes us feel excluded from some areas of development like education for instance,” she claimed.
Oswald Tuyizere, the Director of Economic and Social Empowerment at the National Council for People with Disabilities (NCPD) said marginalized people in general should be more take care of in their everyday lives, insisting that they are able to do things that others do.
He pledged more advocacy for little people so they can be included in different government programs as well as making an appeal to financial access for the progress of their living standards and has total confidence that the collaboration will never stop given the support that the government has been offering people with disabilities, including travel facilitation in different buildings among many more.
“Some marginalized people have physical capacity to do physical activities, like agriculture. They need to access financial services so that they take themselves from one level to another because they are truly able to do it. We need to adopt the mindset that they can have obvious impact on the country’s development,” he said.
Adelphine Nyirasafari, the District Disability Mainstreaming Officer in Gasabo District, said little people, like other marginalized people, need support to improve their lives, adding that the district will keep pushing to make sure the support, be it moral or financial, reaches them whenever available while also underlining their inclusion in the government’s EPRS programs should be a must whenever they are in line with required criteria.
Rwanda Union of Little People (RULP) operates in Gasabo District, with its headquarters in Kacyiru, and in Musanze, having realized that there is a big number of little people in the district.
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