By Patricia Mashiri
The Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe (LCDZ)’s Young Voices have engaged the newly appointed National Disability Board which was appointed on 15 January 2018 with a view of seeking to have their rights mainstreamed in all spheres of life.
Speaking at the National Disability Roundtable Discussion held in Harare on 30 January 2018, Greaterman Chivandire the LCDZ Executive Director hailed the role played by members of the Young Voices in teaching other young people with disabilities about their rights.
“Through this platform the government and society will embrace young people with disabilities’ decisions and will respect their ideas in policy making. Currently there is implimentation of a couple of programmes. For example, we have engaged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education where we are moving in schools and sharing ideas with teachers on how they can help children with disabilities. We also have livelihood programmes such as fishing and organic farming which are sustaining our youths,” Chivandire said.
McDonald Munganasa,a member of Young Voices said as youths, they had a lot of expectations from the board. He outlined a lot of issues which need to be a dddressed as a matter of urgency.
“We have noticed that the board appointed by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare does not consist of youths. Youths should be involved so that their interests will be served. The youths have a lot of grievances pertaining to employment and equal represantation which need to be addressed,” Munganasa said.
The discussion pointed out that there should be outreach programmes in different places and the board members should be involved at grassroot level to note all the problems faced by the young people with disabilities.
The issue of awareness and International commemorations was raised with a great concern as the board was told to help remember such great days for example Albinism and Braille day.
They called for a disability commission since a commission has more power on decision making compared to a board which reports to the ministry. The youths highlighted that some of the policies they wanted were taking long to be implemented because of a lack of legal framework.
Several groups which attended the round table discussion pledged their support to the board in making the PWDs rights known to the society and government.
Civil society groups pledged their support in disseminating correct information about the PWDs.
“The media will help in giving platforms on awareness and demystifying issues around disabilities. The education sector should promote inclusivity in education, analysis and capacity building.”
Mercy Maunganidze the Chairperson of the Disability Board, promised to take up the issues raised by the youths with relevant authorities. She emphasised that youths should not be left behind in all productive issues.