Mashonaland Central Seventh Day Adventist Church has partnered organisations who champion the cause of the disabled and has opened a special department to cater for the group.
SDA Bindura East district Pastor Rich Ketani said they decided to come up with a special department to cater for people with disabilities because they were left out in different aspects.
He was speaking at a church function on Friday last week where the church was engaging disabled people drawn from different parts of the town. “All along we have been assisting our members who are disabled,” said Mr Ketani. “But we realised that there is a need to include even those outside our church.”
Mr Ketani said the church was planning to open a sign language department and was mobilising resources towards the initiative.
“The majority of people with disabilities are facing various forms of abuse and are deprived of education,” he said. “The church can do more. We are educating families on rights of people with disabilities because they spend most of their time in the community.
“We have gathered here to make them feel loved and also make church members aware of the need to spread that love. Parents and guardians sometimes hide children and relatives with disability for fear of victimisation.
“As the church, we are opening our arms wider so that they feel loved and have a shoulder to lean on, because that is our duty. It emerged during the interactions that people with disabilities feel neglected by the church. It is our duty to go door to door and ensure that they are included in every aspect of life.
“We realised that the church plays a critical role in promoting rights of people with disability. The Bible say every person is fearfully and wonderfully made. Jesus treated everyone equally and dealt with special needs afterwards.” At least 50 people with disabilities received food hampers.
Zvimirire-Zimele Disability Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Munyaradzi Mafunga said knowledge on rights of people with disabilities should come from the church.
“People with disabilities face various challenges during the Covid-19 induced lockdown,” he said. “We run to the church for comfort and support and we are happy to feel loved today.
“We are mobilising ourselves to start economic empowering projects so that we move from the charity model to self-sufficiency.”