15 March 2022

There's too much silence around persons with disabilities and total silence on migrants with disabilities

Submitted by Chantal

For immediate release Tuesday 15 March 2022

Policies aimed at promoting and addressing the rights of persons with disabilities are silent on vulnerable migrants with disabilities in South Africa.

A research study conducted in 2020 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) at the University of Witwatersrand found that data on disability and migration is not readily available. As a result, it is difficult to ascertain how many migrants with disability are in the country. The research titled "They are too quiet about migration": a scoping exercise exploring migration and disability in South Africa" also revealed that policies related to disability are silent on migrants with disability. As a result, migrants with disabilities often face exclusion in programmes.

To address this, the IOM, in partnership with Outreach Foundation, are implementing the migration and disability project in Gauteng and Musina. The project, funded by the Irish government, seeks to break this silence by raising awareness about migrants with disabilities. It also aims to improve all persons with disabilities access to social protection.

"At this stage, we are looking at both internal and external migrants with disabilities as well as other persons with disabilities, specifically in Johannesburg and Musina, says Robert Michel, Executive Director for the Outreach Foundation.

"We need to assess their situation and what may be needed, and then we can go from there. This is currently a pilot project to see if there is indeed a need for an intervention, so the more persons with disabilities or their carers we can talk to, the better," Michel added.

Michel further explained that Outreach Foundation had noticed that many migrants and people living with disabilities are excluded from social protection. This is true for many South Africans, whether documented or not. Therefore, there is a need to advocate for their inclusion.

"If you don't know how to access the services, you can't receive a grant, and this is what's happening to many PwDs. And then some know about the grant but aren't accessing them as they don't qualify. They don't know what the criteria are. Ultimately, we want to bridge this gap, and we want to advocate for their rights and access to health, education and employment."
Outreach Foundation is urging persons with disabilities, including migrants with disabilities, or their carers, in the Johannesburg and Musina areas to reach out to its social services department so that a more accurate idea of what is needed for this group can be ascertained.

Contact details for the organisation are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Johannesburg: 011 720 7011 and Musina: [add number here]. Outreach Foundation's Johannesburg office is situated at 30 Edith Cavell Street, Hillbrow and its Musina office is situated in the Red Cross Building, Klaff Avenue, Nancefield.


For editors:

The Outreach Foundation is a critical partner in the lives of the marginalised that are eager to improve their sustainable livelihoods through essential programmes. It has been operating for 23 years. It works with international and urban migrants, refugees, under-skilled economically vulnerable individuals, and young people. The organisation offers several skills courses such as plumbing, building, beautician training, computer skills, and food preparation. Outreach Foundation is based in Hillbrow, Johannesburg but has offices in Pretoria and Musina.

Outreach Foundation, Your Future Foundation - Striving towards a sustainable Africa

Outreach Foundation contact:

Ethel Munyai
Social Services Programme Manager
067 718 3550
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Robert Michel
Executive Director
082 858 4931
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Outreach Foundation MEDIA CONTACT:
Chantal Meugens
061 455 4101
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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) established its operations in South Africa in 1995. Across the country, IOM provides a comprehensive response to the humanitarian needs of migrants, internally displaced persons, returnees and host communities through humanitarian direct assistance, recreational activities, and a variety of other efforts. IOM works in six main areas of intervention in South Africa: Migration and health, regulating migration, movement and resettlement, assisted voluntary returns, counter-trafficking, and emergency and humanitarian response.

IOM contact:
Reneilwe Moningi
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