Self reliance, fighting stigma and self advocacy are the concepts that any person needs to apply in every day’s life. When they are lost, person face lack of a sense of responsibility for oneself. And this may read to confusion and irresponsible but always dependable.
This is what have been the main objective in the discussions prepared by RULP under the UPHLS financial support on self reliance, fighting stigma and self advocacy to persons with short stature from Kigali city on 26th April, 2023 in FIVE-FIVE Hotel to make them self- reliant as many persons with disability sometimes feel ashamed of the way they are.
BUNTUBWIMANA M. Appoline, the RULP Legal Representative said that a number persons with short stature are not self- reliant due to their historical background. They are taken as children and unable in the society that cause stigma, and” I am very sure that you cannot advocate for yourself while you have stigma and fear of society”. She spoke.
They need to be self-reliant to advocate for themselves, against ableists and for their freedom and independence. “We have to be self -reliant to do things and make decisions by ourselves independently”.
Kevine UWASE, one of Persons with Short Stature who attended the discussions said that all the concepts are very important in every day’s life because when you lose one, you many things especially as a person with disability.
“I used to be very shy due to having disability thinking that no one can hear my suggestions. I even feared to express my ideas in class, my home and in the society generally because I was not confident of myself. I thought I cannot do anything and be accepted. I felt stigma into my blood that I could not even go to the market alone than to school. I used to be afraid of myself and bored of my height, I just wanted to be alone. I sometimes became a victim of others mistakes, but today, I have changed my mind, I am going to try all my best fighting this stigma and discrimination, advocating for myself, feel freedom and able”.
Theodole NIYIGABA is a man with short stature who also were in the discussions. He said that persons with short stature’s positive mindset will make the positive surrounding society.
“This is because the society have a mindset that we are not able, but if we feel free to express our ideas, showing them our ability confidently, advocating for our right fearlessly. I am sure those mindsets will change positively as well. As an example, I once entered in a coffee shop, while entering, I met a waiter and immediately told me that they had nothing to give without asking me what I want. I remember, a cup of coffee was only five thousand while I can even afford hundreds of the cups, so, I neglected her and she continued telling me that they had nothing and I insist and enter. Once I had a seat, I requested to talk to her that all persons with disabilities are not beggars. She immediately asked for forgiveness”.
BUNTUBWIMANA concluded saying that there are more needs of such kind of discussions to persons with short stature in everyday life to break the history of having stigma and society’s negative mindset toward them. “self-advocacy comes after being self -reliant and zero stigma. We still have a journey to reach to them at the same time but we have a will to do so by and for ourselves together”.