Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) through its Mulanje District Disability Forum has appealed to government to speed up plans of assisting people with disabilities through the Disability Trust Fund.
The government of Malawi on 24 May 2012 through Parliament passed the Disability Bill which provides for the establishment of the Disability Trust Fund whose money shall be drawn from the disability levy established for the purpose of supporting programmes aimed at mainstreaming disability issues and promoting inclusion.
But four years down the line after the bill was passed, nothing has been done according to Bertha Malaya Ngalande who is Chairperson for Mulanje Disability Forum.
Furthermore, the Act requires the introduction of a national sign language.
According to Ngalande, lives of people with disabilities in Mulanje District have not been easy due to financial problems that prevent them from doing small businesses for their survival.
“Though we do not know much about the Disability Trust Fund but I feel once rolled out, it can change many lives of people with disabilities in Mulanje and other districts.
“My plea to government is they should speed up the process so that lives of people with disabilities are supported. As I speak, many people here are farmers but cannot access fertilizer,” she said.
Ngalande was speaking to journalists who are members of Media Forum for Disability that visited Mulanje on Thursday during a tour that was organized as part of the International Disability Day that will be commemorated later within the year.
On his part, Secretary General for Mulanje Disability Forum Duncan Nkwepu concurred with Ngalande saying people with disabilities in Mulanje highly need assistance as many have nothing to do.
“Like many places around the world, individuals with disabilities in Mulanje are faced with stigma and discrimination from the society where they live.
“People look down on them and find it hard to socialize with members of the society. They cannot even access coupons and other important needs that are donated to able people and this can lead to depression as well as self pity, if not checked,” said Nkwepu.
Also commenting on the same, FEDOMA Executive Director, Action Amosi told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that his organization is engaging government in several ways to ensure the rolling out of the fund.
Amosi said FEDOMA has a lot of work to do on the matter and will get more answers during the celebrations of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in a couple of weeks.
“I can agree that many people with disabilities are not familiar with the Disability Trust Fund which was enacted into law in 2012. Now what has happened so far is that we have managed to simplify the Act so that many people with disabilities can understand what it is,” he said.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA.