Despite clear policies protecting persons living with disabilities (PWDs), there is still a huge gap in the realisation of rights and inclusion of these vulnerable persons, according to Shurugwi people with disabilities.
Speaking to this publication the chairperson of Shurugwi People with Disabilities (SPD) Mr Patrick Nyengo said while the Government has guaranteed rights of PWDs, loopholes still exist on how policies are implemented.
“Most public facilities are not user friendly to PWDs especially those who are wheelchair bound, boreholes are unfriendly to us, Blair toilets are worse.
“Most workplaces in Shurugwi and the Midlands Province at large are inaccessible to people with disabilities, most public buildings lack ramps wide doors and hallways for those who are wheelchair bound,”Nyengo stressed.
Nyengo also bemoaned the lack of facilities that cater for PDWs in public transport hence public transport is inaccessible to the disabled.
“People with disabilities prefer not to use public transport because their special needs are not accommodated in public transport.
“The issue of disability is a shocking puzzle. Everyone knows someone who has a disability but when it comes to providing services and facilities the same people particularly those that hold authoritative decision making positions in society relegate disability considerations to non-essential needs,” he bemoaned.
Speaking on the same note the SPD vice chairperson Mr Addwell Mahobe said disabled people continue to face barriers to equal participation in all aspects of life.
Mahobe said his organization is pushing Shurugwi to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People enabling those with disabilities to live independently and participate in all aspects of life and development.
“Persons with disabilities continue to be the poorest of the poor mainly due to the unfavourable economic situation and predominantly because of the negative attitudes society continues to have towards people with disabilities,” he said.
In his closing remarks Mahobe reiterated that, their rights were not being respected and have no access to all community services, be it in education or transport.
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