The Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare says mindset change strategy is key to permanently removing persons with disabilities from streets in the cities and district councils.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said this on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting held in Lilongwe on Friday when the Ministry engaged Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to deliberate on tangible solutions which can be implemented to remove persons with disabilities (PWDs) that live by begging from the streets.
Kaliati said this is an issue which needs urgent attention despite the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
Said Kaliati: “Even if we had no Covid-19 pandemic, this is an issue which needs special attention. We need to empower them at least with some businesses so that they can sustain themselves economically. Getting persons with disabilities out of the streets of towns and cities across the country is important if we are to make a meaningful difference to them at all levels of society.”
“The ministry is very much aware that the issue of removing persons with disabilities from the streets is not an easy task. It needs well thoughts modalities taking into account that most of the people with disabilities found in the streets rely on begging for their daily bread and others may be homeless but they deserve a decent environment like any other citizen of this country.”
Kaliati further said the intended plan falls in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitities (CRPD) as well as the Disability Act which requires countries to promote the rights of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others and also combating prejudices and stereotypes in all life aspects.
“The Disability Act emphasizes fostering the need of respecting human rights and dignity of people with disabilities. It is the wish of the Tonse government that persons with disabilities are accorded paramount respect socially, culturally and economically. We want them to be part of our socioeconomic developmental activities.”
One of the attendees, Dr. Chiwoza Bandawe, who is also the board chairperson of Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) said persons with disabilities who live by begging needs psychosocial support.
He stressed that the need for mindset change is extreme failing which, despite numerous interventions by government, the beggars will keep returning to the streets.
Said Bandawe: “From experience, we noticed that when these people are removed from the streets, it doesn’t take long before they return. As MACOHA, we have tried giving some of them skills and equipment to sustain their wellbeing only to end up selling the equipment.
“It is, therefore, important that they are engaged with mindset change discussion to find out what it will take for them to stay out of the streets.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :