Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) says the disability grants provided by government do not necessarily have impact desired to the people with disabilities.
The Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) states that successful applicants with severe disabilities will receive M400 on monthly basis. The presentation goes further to state that the care-giver, parent or guardian of such a person will be compensated with M150 per month for caring for a person with severe disability.
According to LNFOD, the Bureau of statistics housing census report (2016) indicates that persons with disabilities constitute 2.5% of the total population, which is about 46 000 people across the country. However, the report does not indicate how many people with severe disabilities are there for obvious reasons that it is difficult to classify severity of disability.
“As an organisation of persons with disabilities, our observation is that persons with severe impairments can be estimated at less than 5% of persons with disabilities, which is a small number of persons with disabilities. Considering that this grant is not given to everybody with disability and considering the small number of persons with severe impairments, it is submitted that government has an opportunity of raising the amounts to at least M800 for a person with disability and M500 for a carer.”
It is the contention of LNFOD that government engages it as well as all the other persons unto whom their decisions would be implemented. The organization maintains that government has to engage organisations of persons with disabilities in the decisions affecting persons with disabilities as required by the national and international law.
LNFOD also strongly encouraged the MOSD to implement the disability grant in accordance with the Persons with Disability Equity Act which adopts social model of disability in setting up a test to determine disability. Disability is no longer seen in a person but in an environment which inhibits such a person to participate on an equal basis with others in society.
It appealed to MOSD to adopt human rights-based approach in assessing persons with disabilities applying for a disability grant by designing social assessment tools which consider the social and economic barriers faced by persons with disabilities and involve medical experts to declare the impairment of an in individual. Medical experts are not trained to tell what persons with disabilities are capable of doing in life.
“It should not be left to the medical experts alone to tell severity but, a tool should be developed in consultation with organisations of persons with disabilities to be filled up by the medical experts which should just diagnose an impairment not a disability.”