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government sweeps disability issues under the carpet
Taurai Maduna, Kubatana.net
April 19, 2006
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the Zimbabwe government razed people’s homes in Operation Murambatsvina
or Operation Restore Order, no one was spared including disabled
Phiri, Director for Southern
African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) said some members
of his organisation were affected by the clean up and that they
are now struggling to make ends meet. "Poverty is taking a
huge toll on our members and the majority of our members have no
shelter, or live in sub-standard shelter," said Mr Phiri.
listen to audio file
Mr Phiri feels
the government is not doing enough to assist disabled persons and
that the voice of the disabled is not being listened to. He added
that government officials have been making pledges to assist disabled
people but to date very little has been done. listen
to audio file
is not alone in ignoring the concerns of the disabled persons.
Disabled Peoples’ Voices from both South and North Being Heard in
the Development Process
is the title of research findings conducted by the Disability Knowledge
and Research (KAR) programme. The research is a comparative analysis
of the situation in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom
and Northern Europe.
research suggests that the development and implementation of disability
policies in Zimbabwe and South Africa are still at a very early
stage with the majority of departments and municipalities having
only draft policies, or no policies at all.
Alexander Phiri, Director for SAFOD
of the research corroborate Mr Phiri’s view that the government
does not take disability issues seriously.
In 1991, the
Zimbabwean government created the Disability
Act, which was revised in 1996. The revised edition makes provision
for the welfare and rehabilitation of disabled persons and mentions
the creation of a public office for the Disabled Persons Affairs.
Eleven years after the act was introduced there is still no such
office in Zimbabwe.
affected by the Zimbabwe government cleanup operation now live
in metal and asbestos shacks
research also revealed that the government is providing financial
assistance to disabled people through the Department of Social Welfare
and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. At the moment the
government is giving out Z$60 000.00 to adults living with disabilities
while children are allocated Z$30 000.00. But this combined monthly
grant for one adult and a child buys just one loaf of bread and
in Zimbabwe are waiting for the day when they get the respect they
deserve from the government. Until that day comes Mr Phiri said
they will say, "there is very little that is happening."
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