Rwanda Union of Little People (RULP) was established as a civil society organization in August 2015 after more discussion with its members on challenges encountered in their daily life. There are multiple challenges in education and extreme poverty among little people in Rwanda, exacerbated by prevailing social stigma and cultural attitudes. RULP advocates on behalf of its members for equal rights for little people.
RULP’s vision is a society where Little People enjoy the same human rights, opportunities, and dignified life. RULP’s mission is to enable little people to live independently and actively participate in society through skills development, capacity building, and social integration. RULP’s objectives are to advocate and raise awareness on equal rights and opportunities for little people, to promote qualitative and inclusive education, vocation, and rehabilitation of little people in need, to build the capacities of little people through skills development, and to enable little people to have access to health services
In partnership with Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, RULP has a project to promote health care Services and COVID-19 response and recovery to Persons with Short Stature in Rwanda. From February 21-25, 2022, RULP had a meeting with Musanze, Rutsiro, and Nyamasheke districts on the impact of Covid-19 to person with Short Stature in Rwanda. It was crucial to meet the district’s officials as the discussion was seriously fruitful to people with short stature and society in general.
BUNTUBWIMANA M. Appoline, the RULP Legal Representative, introduced the meeting on February 22, 2022, to Musanze district officials. She said that this Covid-19 has impacted the whole world but is too harsh to a person with a disability of short stature in various ways. “I remember when the pandemic was introduced, one of the prevention measures was to wash our hands with clean water and soaps, but all of the handwashing stations that were built, they have never been friendly to the person with short stature. we sometimes lost some services due to those issues.”
In Addition, means of transport is another barrier that caused too many small and big businesses that owned by person with short stature lost. This is because any person with short stature cannot go longer. The more accessible and affordable transport to them is the motorcycle, and we remember that during Covid-19 there were few people allowed on transportation”. she added
There is a big challenge of materials used at hospitals during giving birth and other related lives like family planning for women and girls with short stature. Due to Covid-19, no one could touch another to prevent the pandemic. But, person with short stature was connected and affected by the pandemic due to inaccessible materials used at the hospital, like beds…
KAMANZI Axelle, Musanze district Vice Mayor ASOC said that through leaving no one behind Rwandan politics, Musanze district would work hand in hand with RULP so that all the barriers to the person with short stature due to covid-19 can be addressed and removed.
“First of all, we are going to help society change their mindsets so that they may include a person with short stature in their everyday activities and services, especially in preventing the pandemic like re-building hand washing facilities that are not accessible.” She said. During the discussions, all districts official recommended themselves to do all their best to help all persons with short stature to fight against the impact of Covid-19 that impacted mainly economically and health.
UWIHANGANYE Jean Baptiste, the Advisor of the Executive Committee of Rutsiro district, said that these discussions are so important as the officials know and see the untold issues with tangible examples.
“First of all, I thank RULP for the advocacy. So, from today, what is important is not to know the percentages of people with short stature to include them in our services because we have to leave no one behind in the development whether they are disabled or not. We will moreover help them economically to those who lost their businesses. Maybe the district may revise the next year’s budget to include the person with a disability, especially with short stature who are in our district,”. he said. “It is not the first time since Nyamasheke is a partner of RULP. So, we will continue to help the person with short stature, especially in preventing the impact of the pandemic as we have already started to do so. We even know that a person with short stature can do everything if there is no barrier. We will continue to give them their freedom”. KABANGUKA Jean Claude, the Advisor to the Executive Committee of Nyamasheke District, said.
TUYISHIMIRE Honorine, the Executive Director of RULP, appreciated the official of the district to commit themselves to include a person with a disability, especially with short stature, in their services, especially in health-related and requested them to be the RULP ambassador and a voice of any person with short stature in the services they provide.