THERE is need to continuously educate people on the rights of those living with disabilities and ensure that interventions are consistently undertaken to address their basic and strategic needs, an official has said.
Speaking at the national disability expo held in Mutare on Wednesday, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said there was need to consistently and effectively train and educate the public and people living with disabilities on the rights of the disabled.
“This year’s theme – ‘Disability inclusion for sustainable development #walks the talk leaving no one behind’ – echoes the need to ensure that the rights of people living with disabilities are respected as stipulated by the Constitution,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said although Government signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), enforcement was still lax and the disabled still suffered from prejudice, discriminatory behaviour and attitudes and diminished visibility in both the public and private sector.
National Council of Disabled Persons chairperson Mr Ringisai Dube expressed concern at the pervasive tendency by individuals and companies to refrain from hiring and accommodating people with disabilities as their structures primarily were not disability friendly.
“Most employers are unwilling to employ people living with disabilities as most of the structures around the country are not disability friendly,” said Mr Dube.
“Companies and individuals in turn are unwilling to revamp their structures, which has seen more and more people with disabilities being turned away from workplaces.
“Consequently, most of the people living with disabilities are either unemployed or in the informal sector as a result of limited opportunities in formal employment due to these and other reasons.”
Organisations that deal with people living with disabilities like Nzeve Deaf Centre, Chengetai Special School and Danhiko exhibited items like beads, furniture, clothing, door frames and window frames, which they produce.
The Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council distributed material on sexual reproductive health, female condoms and contraceptives at the event while the New Start Centre provided free HIV counselling and testing.
Banks like Steward Bank and Metbank provided financial and consultancy services to individuals, companies and entrepreneurs.
Tertiary institutions like Marymount Teachers College, Mutare Teachers College and the Manicaland State University urged people living with disabilities to enrol so that they could obtain professional qualifications to that will help them earn a living.
Zimbabwe Albinos Association projects coordinator, Ms Patience Muronzi urged Government to consistently roll out similar interventions to help deconstruct myths that were associated with disability, as people needed to be continuously reminded that disability was not a curse.