challenge mental disability stigma
Last Updated : GMT 08:16:42
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Egypt activists

Challenge mental disability stigma

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Challenge mental disability stigma

Out of Egypt's population of around 93m
Cairo - Arab Today

Ghada Tosson waits anxiously outside an Egyptian high school in the Helwan district south of Cairo as her daughter with Down's syndrome sits her end-of-year exam.

Winning the chance to sit standard high school tests took years of fighting in a country where people with mental disabilities are often marginalised and receive little assistance.

"I'm so proud. We've been fighting for 18 years for this moment. She sat the exam like any other high schooler," says Tosson.

"No matter the result, it's proof that it can happen."

She is visibly moved as her daughter comes out of the school, smiling and looking serene.

Out of Egypt's population of around 93 million, an estimated 14 million have some form of disability, says Eglal Chenouda, director of the SETI Center, a section of Catholic charity Caritas which supports the disabled.

Three-quarters of them have a mental disability, she says. The organisations helping them are few and far between.

"Most of them are staying at home, deprived of any services," she says, adding that only two to three percent of them receive the services they need.

But activists are working to tackle public ignorance around mental disability and the stigma it carries -- something they say is as important as providing services.


 

- Integration -

That is a core part of the mission of SETI,  which stands for "Support, Education, Training for Inclusion".

Fighting stigma is a big part of the battle. Tosson says that when she was looking for nursery schools she had to contact at least 50 before she found one that would enrol her daughter.

At SETI's toddler section, four-year-old Yassin does learning activities under the care of his mother Hoda Abdelkhalek and a Caritas trainer.

Focused, the young boy with Down's syndrome stacks coloured rings around a cone.

Abdelkhalek says the family found out about his disability the day he was born. 

"It was very hard," she says. "(The doctor) told us 'your son is Mongolian'," a term used in many countries for people with the syndrome but which many consider derogatory.

Hospital staff advised her to isolate the baby in a separate room several times a day and limit his contact with his older brothers.

At SETI, she was taught the opposite. Staff urged her to integrate Yassin into the daily life of his family and the neighbourhood.

Chenouda says it is important to change public attitudes, convince people that disability is a rights issue and to "include the disability issue in all services".

But the services provided by organisations like SETI fall far short of the huge demand.

 - 'Not enough -

Egypt has just 68 institutions able to provide care for the mentally disabled, says Khaled Aly, who heads the rehabilitation department of the ministry of social solidarity. 

"It's not enough compared to the number of mentally disabled people, but we're on the right track," he says.

Aly says a new bill set for a parliamentary vote next year will give the government more responsibilities and improve communication between the health and education ministries.

He adds that the ministry already organises workshops in villages in rural Upper Egypt to "inform and sensitise" people to issues of mental disability.

Other initiatives in the country have shown that integrating the disabled into Egyptian society is both possible and beneficial.

Olfat Salem has been organising cultural and sports activities for the mentally disabled at the Alexandria Sporting Club for 20 years.

"The families used to be ashamed; they would come at the club late at night, sit in a dark corner," she says.

Playing sport transformed the children, she adds.

"Receiving a medal gives them happiness you could not imagine. It gives them self-confidence. And now the families are proud of them as well."

Source: AFP

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

challenge mental disability stigma challenge mental disability stigma

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

challenge mental disability stigma challenge mental disability stigma

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Dubai’s first ever ‘Modest Fashion Week’ draws

GMT 11:26 2017 Tuesday ,12 December

Dubai’s first ever ‘Modest Fashion Week’ draws
Arab Today, arab today Snow grounds flights

GMT 04:04 2017 Thursday ,14 December

Snow grounds flights
Arab Today, arab today 3 Ways to Find the Best Interior Design Ideas

GMT 09:49 2017 Tuesday ,12 December

3 Ways to Find the Best Interior Design Ideas
Arab Today, arab today Muslim leaders urge recognition of East Jerusalem

GMT 02:29 2017 Thursday ,14 December

Muslim leaders urge recognition of East Jerusalem
Arab Today, arab today Twitter makes 'tweetstorms' easier

GMT 04:29 2017 Thursday ,14 December

Twitter makes 'tweetstorms' easier
Arab Today, arab today Watch brand James Derby launches

GMT 09:35 2017 Monday ,11 December

Watch brand James Derby launches
Arab Today, arab today Ryanair's Dublin pilots vote

GMT 05:28 2017 Wednesday ,13 December

Ryanair's Dublin pilots vote
Arab Today, arab today Why You Should Choose Oriental

GMT 10:36 2017 Wednesday ,29 November

Why You Should Choose Oriental
Arab Today, arab today UN does not confirm Iran link

GMT 03:30 2017 Wednesday ,13 December

UN does not confirm Iran link
Arab Today, arab today Polish TV channel fined

GMT 04:50 2017 Wednesday ,13 December

Polish TV channel fined

GMT 03:23 2017 Wednesday ,06 December

Cleric praises mosque school idea

GMT 08:32 2017 Thursday ,30 November

MP calls for withdrawing confidence

GMT 08:16 2017 Saturday ,02 December

MP warns of new drug spread in Egypt

GMT 12:20 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

Amara underlined role of construction

GMT 06:56 2017 Friday ,01 December

Minister stresses refusal to Benkiran

GMT 07:31 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

Actress Menna Shalaby reveals her coming works

GMT 04:06 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

Kuwait prepares for hosting GCC Summit

GMT 04:18 2017 Sunday ,26 November

Bella magazine appoints celebrity writer

GMT 03:54 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

15 killed in Morocco food aid stampede

GMT 01:41 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Moroccan video sparks debate on sexual harassment

GMT 15:05 2017 Thursday ,05 October

Haddon PR handles Deskmate

GMT 04:30 2017 Sunday ,22 October

Miista appoints IPR London

GMT 16:33 2014 Thursday ,13 November

Al-Ehtimam Bil Aakhareen

GMT 10:05 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

Bahrain's top Shiite cleric hospitalised

GMT 13:56 2017 Friday ,01 December

Trump fuels Tillerson firing speculation

GMT 04:47 2017 Tuesday ,05 December

More than 400 killed as magnitude 7.3 earthquake

GMT 15:24 2017 Thursday ,05 October

A.F.VANDEVORST appoints SPRING London

GMT 14:23 2017 Friday ,01 December

Mauritanian activists arrested over massacre protest

GMT 03:27 2017 Wednesday ,06 December

Saudi Arabia aspires to the success of Yemen's uprising

GMT 09:12 2017 Friday ,17 November

Gleam Futures represents Grace Beverley

GMT 16:08 2017 Tuesday ,24 October

Glamour fashion editor goes freelance

GMT 03:34 2017 Sunday ,05 November

Needle & Thread relocates press office

GMT 06:00 2017 Sunday ,29 October

Childrenswear brand Once appoints Dyelog
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday