More often than not, people with epilepsy and other disabilities are denied equal access to opportunities, not allowing them to function optimally, live enriched and fulfilling lives, and reach their full potential in all spheres of life.
The need for the implementation of an Advocacy Programme within the organisation is due to a number of factors, affecting people with epilepsy and other related disabilities, such as poverty, unemployment and social isolation. The targeted groups or individuals for this programme will include both personnel at the provincial branches of Epilepsy South Africa, as well as people with epilepsy and other disabilities.
Problems to be addressed by this programme:
- Epilepsy remains one of the most misunderstood and stigmatised neurological conditions, despite being one of the most common;
- Research shows that over 80% of people with epilepsy are unemployed;
- Rural and poverty-stricken areas have twice the number of people living with epilepsy, compared to the population as a whole;
- Most people with disabilities in South Africa have been excluded from mainstream society and have, subsequently, been prevented from accessing fundamental human, social, political and economic rights.
Hence, Epilepsy South Africa is developing a self-advocacy, human rights and rights-to-health training manual to be used by its National Social Development Manager in self-advocacy training workshops for members of the community and staff members from the associations branches. A secondary objective is to train 30 trainers, from seven Epilepsy South Africa branches during 2010-2011. These trainers will then have the potential to facilitate further training of 600 persons
with epilepsy and other disabilities each year.
The organisation also plans to conduct a pilot study with the two-fold aim of:
- Training members of staff in implementing and facilitating the training programme
in their respective Epilepsy South Africa branches;
- Monitoring to establish how successful the training program is and the level
of learning achieved by participants during and after training.
The project will receive US$5,000 from the Promising Strategies Program.