I lived in Bamenda, Cameroon for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Community Health Education with persons with disabilities. Through working with persons with disabilities, I discovered that this population is facing a serious crisis as well as human rights violations. Many are barred access to healthcare, education, marketplaces, and many buildings.
When people are and are either in an accident or become ill, they have no money for healthcare. As a result, they become disabled without the healthcare. They become the poorest of the por and struggle more to work or can no longer work. Ninety-five percent of persons with disabilities are the poorest of the poor.
Many persons with disabilities are hidden in homes. In addition, some lay in beds all day. Many marketplaces and buildings are not equipped for persons with mobility disabilities because they do not have ramps and elevators.
Only 2% of Cameroonians with disabilities have received formal education. Many parents think children with disabilities are worthless and cannot be educated.
Women and girls with disabilities face a very high risk of domestic violence and rape. They are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV/AIDs, because they are uneducated, unintentionally spreading this disease because they have no knowledge of the existence of the disease and how it is spread. Parents of girls with disabilities who believe their daughters cannot become pregnant bar them from access to sexual reproduction health education. As a result, girls with disabilities become pregnant out of wedlock without any understanding of how and why they became pregnant. Sixty to seventy-five percent of women and girls with disabilities live in rural communities.