The Mogobane Disabled Persons’ Committee (MDPC) was founded in 2008, registering with the Government of Botswana as a community based organization on the 23rd of April of that year. It functions primarily as a support group and advocacy group for people with disabilities (PWD). MDPC’s members represent the wide spectrum of disabilities, including sensory or mobility impairment and developmental disability. At meetings, each member is given the floor to express his or her thoughts and feelings. MDPC has successfully accomplished various projects including the building of ramps to increase accessibility to the community hall for people with mobile disabilities, and the facilitation of a community wide focus-group to discuss the ways PWD have limited access to HIV/AIDS services and to strategize an action plan towards full inclusion.
Local problems experienced by PWD and their caregivers in Mogobane that increase their risk of HIV infection:
- PWD experience a high rate of unemployment (around 100%) and poverty.
- PWD have few opportunities to engage with and contribute to the community.
- PWD are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.
- Like all people, PWD are sexual beings and are, on account of their vulnerability and dependence on members of the community, at increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
- PWD lack recreational activities in Mogobane, and sometimes resort to drinking and other high-risk activities.
- Caregivers are given little financial aid to support their dependents, including PWD.
- Caregivers are given little support for the frequently taxing and stressful responsibility of caring for PWD.
- Because of the wide range of disabilities experienced by PWD, caregivers have similarly various responsibilities and degrees of responsibility, thereby straining the ability of a support group to adequately address them all.