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of disabled young people: Gvt fast asleep
May 13, 2011
For years the
plight of people living with disabilities has not only been neglected
but ignored by those in authority to such an extent that such people
have rarely, if ever featured in national planning and the effects
have been so telling especially in young people and has left many
with unanswered questions.
Since the country attained Independence in 1980, there has been
no meaningful commitment on the part of the government in addressing
issues that affect disabled young people in their daily lives. In
most cases, it appears that the government has taken a back seat,
leaving a few organisations bearing the burden of taking care of
the needs of the disabled.
However, no matter how hard private players try to address the plight
of this vulnerable group, their efforts have always counted to nothing
because they are not backed by a serious legislative framework.
The disability arts festival that was held at the University
of Zimbabwe during the Theatre Arts Week at the beginning of
this month exposed the glaring shortcomings on the part of the government
in adequately meeting the demands of young people living with disabilities.
The festival was held under the theme, "Navigating and Re-negotiating
Marginality: Cultural and Artistic dimensions was hosted by the
Theatre Arts department's Disability Resource Centre (DRC)
with support from the Student
Solidarity Trust and the Culture Fund.
This year's event was the second such programme after the
inaugural event in March last year and focused on arts, culture
Speaking during the Arts Week, Chairman of the department Mr Nicodemus
Chivandikwa said that this year's event resonate well with
current debates in gender, development literature and popular culture.
The performances and academic papers that were presented managed
to shed light on relevant social, political, cultural and economic
issues facing communities and the society at large.
Despite the fact that disabled people constitute about 10 percent
of the country's population, this figure has failed to translate
to resource allocation by the fiscus, a situation which has left
those living with disabilities scrambling for a few crumbs from
the tables of whom those same disabled people thrust into public
One youth who spoke to this reporter on condition he was not named
said that what was worrying him was the fact that those in authority
do not realize that they can as well become disabled at any time
hence the need of a concerted effort among all stakeholders to ensure
that the burden of people living with disabilities is lessened.
"I was actually not born disabled, this condition came about
when I got injured and the injury was worsened by my doctor to become
a permanent disability," he said.
He said that it has not been easy coping with the cultural, social
and psychological challenges that come along with his new identity
and ignorance on the part of the government has not helped matters.
Other young people at the event chronicled sad stories, all of which
called for immediate government attention.
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