Envaya

Songambele  is a grassroots community-based organization formed and run by women living with disabilities irrespective of race, culture, religion or social status. The organization started by women with disabilities who had been faces Stigma and discrimination just because they are women and they have disability. Stigma attached to disability also affects access to health services, education, employment and how their communities and social groups such as the church treat women and girls with disability. At that time, it served as a meeting group for experience sharing and consolation. Neither did the members know that the 5-member group would one day be registered and become an organization, changing women and girls with disability lives especial who are living in rural areas.

Songambele is officially registered with government as a Non Gorvernment Organinsation (NGO) reg no ooNGO/00010039

Songambele means: Move forward.

Very often, when a person loses the use of a limb or any part of his/her body through an accident or disease, that person is usually shocked and experiences trauma. To be told that ‘You will never be able to walk again....’ or ‘you will never be able to use your arm again....’ is like being sentenced to death.

 And in deed, many accident victims who become disabled die within six months of being discharged from the hospitals.

 Persons with disabilities have been greatly deprived of their economic base and means of livelihood. They have been incapacitated in meeting their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and other life essentials. This has in turn compelled them to beg or be dependent on their families, relatives, and the community as a whole.

Basic needs for people with disabilities would include self management, use of toilet, washing, dressing, transfer from bed to the wheelchair, access into public buildings, private buildings, boarding public vehicles etc. These are ordinary activities that able-bodied people take for granted and never think twice when performing them. However, for a person with disability it is a gargantuan task. Some of these normal everyday activities are even very humiliating when a person with disability has to be assisted by a junior member of the family or one of opposite gender.

For a woman and girls it is even worse, stigma attached to disability also affects access to health services, education, employment and how their communities and social groups such as the church treat women and girls with disability.

The needs of a woman with disability are unique as it were.

It is against this backdrop that the six members of this group met on 9th.April 2009, to share their different experiences and concerns. Two members of the group are wheelchair users having received spinal cord injuries (SCI), after they were involved in separate road accidents. The other four are very closely involved in giving care and support to disabled folk. It was at this meeting that the decision to start a support group was reached. This group would address the noted shortcomings