President Peter Mutharika has said people with disability need more attention and support for them to realize their potential.
Making the remarks on Friday at Sanjika Palace during an audience with Federation of Disability Organizations of Malawi (FEDOMA) Mutharika said people with disability are facing discrimination and exclusion in many aspects of their lives hence the need to take their needs seriously.
“Often People with disability face challenges in accessing information, health services, education, transport and infrastructure,”he said.
FEDOMA Executive Council Member, Nitta Hanjahanja said despite the country making some achievements on the issue, there is need for government and other bodies to work together to fill the gap that is there.
She asked government to consider introducing a quota system of employment where 4 percent in the public sector should be given to People with Disabilities bearing in mind that there are several qualified disabled youths out of employment.
“We would like government to think of subsidizing assistive devices like computers, software, white cane, crutches as most of these are imported making them expensive to be accessed, Hanjahanja pointed out.
FEDOMA Board of Trustees Chairperson, Pastor Towera Masiku highlighted the need for the provision of at least two sign language interpreters to be placed in all the districts to help in public interfacing with the community as well as echoing public voices to people with disabilities.
She urged government to consider leveling the playing field so that youths and women with disabilities are included in various programming.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr Jean Kalirani said her Ministry was aware of the shortage of sign language interpreters plans to train 100 sign language interpreters and by January 2017, 30 will be deployed to all the districts.
“We are also reviewing the disability act and among other things to be looked into is the formation of the National Disability Advisory Committee,”she explained.
FEDOMA was founded in 1999, as an umbrella organization of Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) in Malawi to provide a unified voice for all the disabled people.
Some of the organizations include Malawi National Association of the Deaf (MANAD), Disabled Women in Development (DIWODE)Malawi Disability Sports Association (MADISA), Parents of Disabled Children Association in Malawi (PODCAM) and National Epilepsy Association( NEA) among others.