The elderly deserve love, respect

24 June 2013

Daily News reported on 24th June, 2013 that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative, Ms Aisha Camara-Drammeh said the elderly and PWD’s were not only confronted with physical and mental impediments, but were also subjected to social stigma.

Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said that Government continues to support organisations that provide care to the elderly, people living with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children.

Mr Masisi was speaking at a luncheon hosted by Beno Society for senior citizens and people living with disabilities (PWD’s) at Mmathethe in Southern District on June 22. He said the elderly deserved to be loved, respected and protected. He added that it was befitting to honour the elderly because they had contributed to the development of the country. The event, sponsored by Choppies Supermarket, Zen Promotions and BIDVEST Botswana, was held under the theme: Backyard is for Gardening, Not for Hiding us.

Mr Masisi also commended Beno Society for providing palliative care to the elderly and PWD’s. He noted that the society’s objectives in advocating against the discrimination of the elderly and PWD’s were similar to those of the government and other non-governmental organisations.

Ms Camara-Drammeh noted that the negative attitude and social rejection of the elderly and PWD’s was evident throughout history and across cultures. She said fighting discrimination against the elderly was central towards a socially just society. She emphasised that tackling sources of discrimination was an important part of all initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of PWD’s and the elderly.

“It was the duty of society to uphold and protect the human rights of these groups and implement legislation to ensure that they enjoy social inclusion. Everyone has human rights and must be valued for his or her self-worth,” she said. She said fighting discrimination, stigma and social exclusion against the elderly and PWD’s was both a challenge and an imperative, if “we are to achieve socially just societies.”

Ms Camara Drammeh said there were many programmes and processes that could be developed to reduce stigma. She cited community wellness days, festivals and nation-wide campaigns as viable interventions. She applauded Beno Society for their efforts in reaching out to communities to provide support and care for both the elderly and PWD’s despite limited resources.

Ms Camara Drammeh said the society required collective support and urged all to volunteer and assist in caring for the elderly, adding that caring for the elderly and PWD’s should be a priority. She said such priorities should include improving access to quality health care, providing flexible employment and business opportunities, providing pensions and fighting abuse, violence and discrimination.

She commended Botswana for the recognition she had bestowed on the elderly by providing free health services and pensions. Furthermore, Ms Camara-Drammeh advocated for the development of a national policy on the elderly.

This, she said, would support the acceleration of the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. The coordinator of Beno Society, Ms Masego Leepile said the luncheon gave senior citizens the opportunity to discuss the challenges they were facing. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : Kanye

Event : Community activity

Date : Jun 24 Mon,2013