CAIRO — Using sign language, Aya Mohamed, an ambitious secretary in a government-owned institution, explains that she is verbally bullied when she pursues simple daily activities, such as buying something.
The 29-year-old with hearing disabilities, Mohamed says she faces the same treatment from public employees when she’s trying to access social services, like renewing her driver’s license or national ID.
Egypt has an estimated 12 million people with disabilities, according to a UNDP report, and they lack legal protection in multiple spheres of life, including education, public accessibility and employment. Egypt dubbed 2018 the “Year of Disabled People,” and, in February 2018, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government issued a bill on the rights of persons with disabilities.
A year since passage of the law — which promised key changes in the lives of disabled citizens — disability rights activists claim that nothing has changed.
The Ministry of Higher Education is now obliged by the law to facilitate education access for disabled persons, including providing technological services, educational programs, and distance learning opportunities, thus complying with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sanction that Egypt ratified in 2008.
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