International award for its rights work


RUB – The Rwanda Union of the Blind has won an award for its work in educating, engaging and giving a voice to persons with visually impairment in Rwanda. The award was presented in Paris by the Leitner Centre for International Law and Justice in 2014.

Donatilla Kanimba, RUB’s Executive Director, is pleased that the organisation’s work has attracted such international attention.

– This award is not only for persons with visually impairment, but for all persons with disabilities. It shows that we are just as important as any others, says Kanimba.

Medlemmar i RUB sitter på en bänk.

Members of the Umucyo cooperative gathered 15 tonnes of maize during the last harvest. All the members now have their own bank accounts, plus a joint account for the cooperative. They have also created a kitchen garden, where they grow vegetables which they share with the people who live locally. The activities of the cooperative, which include self-help groups, make the members less isolated than they were. This is gradually starting to provoke a change in social attitudes towards people with disabilities.

In 1994, persons with visually impairment began organising themselves under the national umbrella organisation RUB, so that they were better able to fight for fundamental rights.

– The award reinforces our continued commitment to improve the situation for persons with visually impairment. We have not achieved our successes on our own. We have received help from our partners and the Rwandan government, which has adopted inclusive legislation, explains Kanimba.

Jean Damascene Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary of the Rwandan disability rights movement’s umbrella organisation NUDOR, adds that the media coverage has also contributed to the organisation’s success. The fact that the media have supported the campaign highlighting inequalities in society has put issues of rights and disabilities on the agenda.

– The award shows that persons with disabilities can also contribute to the country’s development, states Nsengiyumva, expressing a hope that journalists and the media will continue to raise the issue of rights for different minority groups in society.

Lina Jakobsson