Malawi govt builds Special Education college: Fedoma signs Intellectual Disability Declaration

Malawi Government is constructing first ever Malawi Institute of Special Education College to ensure there are adequate and trained specialist teachers to meet needs of people with disabilities.

Principle Secretary for Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs, Fletcher Zenengeya disclosed this on Tuesday during a signing ceremony of Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability by Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) and Southern Africa Federation of Disability (Safod).

The event was championed by Fedoma and Special Olympics Malawi (Som).

Chiwaula:  More research
Chiwaula: More research

Zenengeya said the project is part of Inclusive Education programme under Ministry of Education, Science and Technology aimed at serving and improving lives of people with disabilities including those with intellectual disabilities.

“The college is there to meet needs of learners with special needs, including those with intellectual challenges so that they also access appropriate and equality education,” said Zenegngeya.

He said government has also embraced Community Based Rehabilitation program as an effective strategy for active participation, economic empowerment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities who, according to 2008 Population and Housing Census, constitute a prevalence rate of 4.0 percent.

Fedoma Executive Director, Action Amos described the Lilongwe Declaration on Peoples with Intellectual Disabilities as important initiative aimed at improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities at all levels of the society.

Amos said the Declaration highlights on of the invisible disabilities in Malawi. There are close to 200 million people with intellectual disabilities in the world.

However, Amos lamented the gaps in the Disability Act, which does not present detailed program of action being a basis of action and national accountability on disability.

“As Fedoma we support the cause not only of intellectual disabilities but all forms of disabilities. We will support all political and public processes to see to that needs of persons with disabilities are met,” he said.

And Mussa Chiwaula Director General for Safod said his institution would coordinate more research on issues dealing with intellectual disability, which is probably the largest impairment grouping on African continent.

Chiwaula explained: “Few indigenous research and evaluation studies have been undertaken, with little or no available literature. For instance, we need to further investigate the perceptions of intellectual disability in African contexts, access to education and health care, and the provision of appropriate assistance and support.”

The Lilongwe Declaration on People with Intellectual Disabilities emanated from the African Leaders Forum on Intellectual Disability, which sought to build international momentum to improve rights of persons with intellectual disabilities by establishing African Leadership Alliance on Intellectual Disabilities.

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