Interview with Habel Ouma

Updated: March 2016

Habel Ouma is a Kenyan disability rights advocate who participated in a training in January 2016, in the city of Nairobi. The training was developed through the RightsNow!: Strong Communities through Enforcing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project by members of the RightsNow! consortium, including Mobility International USA (MIUSA), the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in partnership with the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK). 




Man (Habel Ouma): My name is Habel Ouma. I am the Chairperson of Mumias Deaf Youth Group, and also the Chairperson of Mumias Matungu Disability Network. I'm happy for this training because the theme is very important. Right now, the disabled can get help. The topic has helped us to understand how we can work on advocacy and people can see how Americans lobbied for their rights. From the early 1970s, they have been advocating their government to accept and ratify their bill so that people can access opportunities that are available. The same way, I have learned from this. It also helps us so that we can borrow ideas from Americans with disabilities, because in Kenya we have many opportunities but we lack the empowerment. We lack the structures. We have so many NGOs and disabled groups but they are not strict with how we can approach the government. 

So, for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the training has been great, wonderful, and perfect. It given us an eye-opener on how we can come together to build a coalition.Yesterday, the Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and Services was there. And also he spoke about that we, people with disabilities, we need to unite and give support to UDPK (United Disabled Persons of Kenya) so that it could be a platform for us in Kenya. (It's better) than us being working alone in isolation. Doing this, we cannot achieve our target. We can achieve it if we all come together. But the challenge, the problem is that we have the Deaf are working on their own, the people with physical disabilities are working on their own, the visually impaired people are working on their own, and the government is confused. Who to address Who do we speak to? 

But now, the best way, through UDPK we can make a solution for the future. And also I thank MIUSA (Mobility International USA) in America for their support. And UDPK and DPOs that have come together for this training. Now, as we make the action plans, I think this is the best time. As the team says right now, the disabled, we come together and do the advocacy and achieve what we want! Thank you!


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