The pervasive lack of awareness and understanding of disability rights in Fiji poses the most significant barrier to people with disabilities realizing their human rights, creating an ongoing and everyday challenge for them.
A USAID-funded consultation addressed this concern, which engaged vital stakeholders to discuss the rights of these people.
National Councils of Persons with Disability Executive Director Lemeki Cagialau emphasized raising awareness and collaborating with government ministries to effectively address community stigma.
“The stigma is still out there in the community, so we need to raise more awareness. We needed to go out and do more awareness, and that is why we want to work with the government ministries”.
Cagialau highlighted the importance of funding and expressed gratitude to government ministries for their continuous support.
“For us especially is the funding, we’re so thankful that the government support us annually through the government budget and different ministries they have different disability budgetary lines so those are the things that persons with disabilities can access”.
Meanwhile, Nafi Bai emphasized the council’s responsibility to raise awareness about including people with disabilities in urban and rural areas.
“I think this year we’re building up to the implementation of the policy is to see that awareness is actually amplified so that persons with disabilities not only in the urban areas are adhered to the policy, but also the rural areas as well”.
Ensuring the rights of people with disabilities is a collective responsibility that requires robust collaboration.