NAME: SOMALIA DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCACY (SODRA Organisation)
Date founded: 2014
Geographical coverage: Somalia and Kenya
Thematic Areas: Disability rights, Special Need Education, Human Rights, Capacity Building, Child Rights, livelihood and health.
Contact Person 1:Mohamed Amin Mohamud
2: Hawa Mohamed Ibrahim
SOMALIA DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCACY
Information for Persons with Disabilities
We believe that people with disabilities should have the same opportunities as everyone else. We provide information and advice for:
Youth with Disabilities
Information for and by Young people with disabilities.
Adults with Disabilities
Information on all aspects of living with disability.
Aged and Disability
Specific issues of ageing and impairment.
To drive change across society so that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.
See the person
In our interactions with individuals with disabilities we consider all of the qualities and characteristics that go to make people distinctive and unique, not only their impairment or condition.
Set no limit on potential
Every person with a disability has the right to live their life and work towards their goals without being limited by other people’s expectations or prejudices.
We never set limits on any person or group of persons with disabilities individual aspirations and potentials.
Freedom to choose
Every person with a disability should have the right to exercise choice and control over all decisions that shape their future including the products, services and support programmes they use.
Independence and inclusion
All service developments designed to support persons with disabilities should enable them to become increasingly independent and to live their lives within the community of their choice.
Everyday life equality
We believe that all persons with disabilities should have the same opportunity to education, work, building a home and social life, and access to any location or venue that other people in our society enjoy. No more. No less.
Together we can create a better society
The investment required to support our beliefs will be more than repaid through the as yet untapped potential of people with disabilities and through our collective pride in creating a better society for all.
Making change happen in six key areas
In February 2014, we launched a new strategic direction for SDRA. The strategy is all about creating a society where people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Fulfilling family lives
One in 10 families living in both Somalia and Kenya with dependent children has a child with disability. We want to ensure that the right support is there for them to become stronger and more resilient.
Living independently in the community
Around 500,000 people in both Somalia and Kenya still live below poverty levels when many could be leading more independent, fulfilling lives. We want to ensure that more people with disabilities have the opportunity to live independently in the communities they choose.
Learning and skills
People with disabilities are twice as likely not to hold any qualifications.
We want to make good-quality education accessible to children with disabilities in our geographical area of operations and specifically of young people in their local communities.
Work and volunteering
In significant number of all working age of persons with disabilities are in work.
We want to ensure that more persons with disabilities can work, access employment opportunities or participate in volunteer roles where they can contribute, develop and be rewarded on equal terms with others in the society.
Being a person with a disability often means you earn less, feel less financially secure and are more likely to fall into poverty.
We want to ensure this can possibly reversed in the interest of persons with disabilities.
We want to ensure that people with disabilities have the funding and financial understanding to live fulfilling lives.
Disability and leadership
Leaders and role models play a huge part in increasing the visibility and acceptance of different groups in our society. We want to increase the visibility of individuals with disabilities in general and raise the profile of prominent individuals with disabilities in a variety of environments.
We aim to make these changes happen through a combination of practical services and effective influencing. It is also important to us that we work in partnership with people with disabilities, their families and other organizations.
More than two decades of conflict, inadequate services and discrimination have left people with disabilities in Somalia at risk of forced marriage, violence, rape and repeated forced evictions.
The briefing, Somalia: Prioritize Protection for People with disabilities, reveals how lack of protection, underpinned by discrimination by families, the public and the state renders people with disabilities vulnerable to further attack and exploitation.
Somalia Disability Rights for Advocacy (SODRA) is calling on the Somali Federal Government to act decisively to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are protected in law and in practice.
People with disabilities face greater abuse in Somalia, are often seen as a burden or as easier targets to attackers. Somalia must do more to protect their rights, rather than allow them to be subject to further abuses because of their disabilities.
The briefing builds on previous research by SODRA, which documented widespread human rights abuses including rape and sexual violence. It reveals how the lack of respect for the human rights of people with disabilities exposes them to further human rights abuses.
People with disabilities are calling on the Somali Federal Government to accept they are active members of civil society, ensure their rights are recognized and realized and ensure they have access to assistance and services to prevent further abuses.
Forced marriage, rape and violence
During a recent fact-finding mission to Kismayo in February 2018, SODRA’s researchers spoke to dozens of people, mostly with physical disabilities, who spoke of the abuses inflicted on them including rape and beatings. Women and girls with disabilities said they are forced into marriage to older and/or abusive men in their families’ bid to rid themselves of the perceived burden of having children with disabilities.
I was 13 years old. My family decided to give me to this man, I refused and ran away. My family sent strong men after me. They caught me, tied my arms and legs and threw me in a room with the man. He beat me since the beginning. His family would say that I have a disability that I shouldn’t complain. He beats me, slaps, kicks and throttles me…When I escape and go home, my aunt says that I am with a disability and returns me back.
Halima was raped because her attacker knew about her physical disability:
“I woke up in the night, and found that someone had already entered my buul [shelter]. The attacker put a knife to my neck, and told me to keep silent. He told me he would kill me if I shouted. I was crying as I knew I couldn’t do anything. He knew everything [about my disability], so he raped me repeatedly because he knew I have a disability and couldn’t defend myself.”
Somalia Disability Rights Advocacy Organization (SODRA) is calling on the Somali Federal Government to take concrete steps to tackle the continued abuses of people with disabilities, including through the development of a national legal and policy framework and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Safety in numbers
Groups of people with disabilities have organized themselves for protection in numbers; others have mobilized to demonstrate for their rights.
Instead of being seen as a burden by their families and communities, many people living with disabilities who spoke to SODRA wanted to be recognized as agents of change.
“People with disabilities are excluded, neglected and abused at every level. The Somali Federal Government must now act to show its commitment to ensuring the human rights of all people without discrimination.” Said Mohamed,
“It must give people with disabilities the chance to actively engage with decision making processes, especially those that most affect them, including in the ongoing constitutional review process and in drafting legal and policy frameworks for people with disabilities.”
Somalia Disability Rights Advocacy Organization (SODRA) works to empower people with disabilities in Somalia to maximize their potential and improve their standard of living.
Many adults with disabilities miss formal education and lack functional/employable skills that would enable them engage in development activity. Currently SODRA supports people undertaking literacy and numerous training to cope with challenges of disability, create own employment and sustain themselves when they go back to their communities. The programme provides toolkits on completion of the training to ensure they put to use the skills learnt.
Sodra has established a special school in Kismayo for the blind and deaf children of Kismayo, the school has 62 students living with disabilities 15 blind students and 47 deaf students.
SODRA believes that one of the most effective means of realizing its vision is by supporting development of a vibrant and representative disability movement that is actively promoting the rights of all disabled people. The human rights and policy advocacy component therefore aims to facilitate the growth of disability movement in the country so as to bring about lasting social change. SODRA supports the less needy in their campaign for rightful inclusion of adults with disabilities and children in the society. The program targets policy makers at regional and district levels, undertakes research into political, economic, social and cultural trends of people with disabilities and writing positive papers.
Disability Health Program
People with disabilities can face obstacles to obtaining the information and services that are necessary to achieve and maintain good health. These obstacles include:
The lack of physical access to hospitals and doctors’ offices.
Obtaining information in an accessible format (such as materials in the appropriate cognitive level, Braille, large print, or American Sign Language)
Encountering attitudes that may prevent healthcare providers from seeing a person with a disability as a whole person.
In addition to these obstacles to good health, people with disabilities are at greater risk for secondary conditions (like diabetes, obesity, and arthritis) than people without disabilities.
Sodra has recently distributed a vitamins A supplement and Albendazole to the residence of Gobweeyn town 15 kilometres from Kismayo.