Law Students Advocate for Persons Living with Disabilities
Third-year Law students Mr Thabo Magubane and Ms Lydia Mabaudi are advancing research in the area of law and technology and promoting advocacy for people living with disabilities.
Under the mentorship of Law academic Advocate Victoria Balogun-Fatokun, Magubane is publishing research papers that focus on the use of technology to enhance access to justice and healthcare, while Mabaudi is actively advocating for social justice.
Magubane who is an Alibaba Cloud specialist trainee has co-authored and presented a paper with Balogun-Fatokun.
The paper titled: Overcoming Barriers to Safe Abortion in Africa: The Role of Technology, which was recently presented at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, explored the use of technological applications such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G to mitigate unsafe medical practices that hinder women’s right to safe abortion.
‘Unsafe abortions are one of many pandemics that affect the sub-Saharan African region. This is a result of many factors which include poor infrastructure, a lack of effective training of those that perform the procedure, and most importantly, a large backlog in public healthcare centres. AI and 5G are proposed as mitigating tools, especially in terms of capturing, processing, and transferal of medical data and conducting remote surgical procedures,’ explained Magubane.
Thabo and Lydia made submissions at a webinar titled COVID-19: Implications for persons living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the way forward, hosted by UKZN. It calls on software developers and engineers to bear in mind people living with disabilities when designing online platforms for working and learning.
Having served as the Community Development Officer of Students for Law and Social Justice which promotes access to justice for all, Mabaudi is passionate about social justice. She spoke on the effects of COVID-19 on persons living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the way forward.
‘I emphasised the need to include people living with disabilities in policy development and called on educators to be more accommodating when it comes to disabled persons. Society also needs to be conscientised on the daily struggles of people living with disabilities as some people live with can be termed invisible disability and this makes it even harder for them to be heard,’ she said.
Balogun-Fatokun said she is proud to have Magubane and Mabaudi as mentees. ‘I advocate for mentoring programmes across our programmes as such can really help channel our students in the right direction,’ she said.
‘Many people don’t like mentoring because no payment is attached but life should not always be about money or reward. Many of the youth just need to be guided and led in the right direction. By also letting them lead, they become more confident.’
Words: Thandiwe Jumo