German Embassy and Cheshire Homes Society cooperate on Human Rights Project

Visually impaired user usesa  laptop with speech software financed by the German Embassy Enlarge image Visually impaired user usesa laptop with speech software financed by the German Embassy (© German Embassy Lusaka) Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups worldwide. They suffer from discrimination, immense societal barriers and high stigmatization in their every day life. To promote human rights of persons with disabilities and raise public awareness on disability issues in Zambia, the German Embassy and Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia (CHSZ) signed an agreement for the implementation of an advocacy project in the overall financial volume of 22.800 Euros, ZMW 285.000 according to the current exchange rate.

Persons with disabilities face discrimination and barriers in more than just one way. They often remain largely ‘invisible’, often side-lined in the rights debate and unable to enjoy the full range of human rights. They are restricted from participating in society on an equal basis with others every day. They are denied their rights to be included in the general school system, to be employed, to live independently in the community, to move freely, to vote, to participate in sport and cultural activities, to enjoy social protection, to access justice, to choose medical treatment and to enter freely into legal commitments such as buying and selling property.

In recent years, a fundamental change in approach took place globally to close the protection gap and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same standards of equality, rights and dignity as everyone else. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in 2006 and entered into force in 2008, signalled a ‘paradigm shift’ from traditional charity-oriented, medical-based approaches to disability to one based on human rights. Zambia has also ratified this important Convention. It is now important to also achieve a change on the ground. Ambassador Finke and CHSZ Executive Director Hamuhuma after signing the contract Enlarge image Ambassador Finke and CHSZ Executive Director Hamuhuma after signing the contract (© German Embassy)

CHSZ was formed in Zambia more than forty years ago and built on the mandate to provide education and rehabilitation to children and youth with disabilities. In the meanwhile, there are nine Cheshire Services in existence in Lusaka, Kafue, Ndola, Solwezi and Livingstone which - besides the medical rehabilitation - also engage in advocacy programs and campaigns. The overall goal of the CHSZ project supported by the German Embassy is to improve the human rights and living condition of people with disabilities in Zambia. Within the scope of the project, CHSZ will contribute to the implementation and monitoring of the International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Zambia and of the commitments made in the Zambian Constitution. It particularly aims at strengthening the capacities of young people with disabilities between 16 and 25, known as the “Young Voices”, and at fully including them into society. In addition, the project intends to raise awareness on disability and advocate for children with disabilities´ rights to education. CHSZ thereby uses an approach that comprises different stakeholders, such as young people with disabilities, but also government ministries and civil society organization in order to influence a sustainable positive policy change.  

The funds derive from a German Federal Foreign Office programme that particularly supports the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide, mainly focusing on the implementation of human rights policies. Through around 70 projects per year, we help primarily non-governmental organizations to assert human rights in their countries or to monitor human rights enforcement, as well as to raise public awareness of human rights and anchor them in state structures.

Human Rights Project 2016