Persons with disabilities in the country have bemoaned the failure by government to establish the Disability Trust Fund as provided for by the law, demanding President Peter Mutharika to swiftly act on the issue.
Malawi enacted Disability Act in 2013 which provides for the establishment of the Disability Trust Fund, the money which shall be drawn from the disability levy established for the purpose of supporting programmes aimed at mainstreaming disability and promoting inclusion.
However, since the enactment of the Act nothing has been done to set up the fund which would have helped in improving lives of persons with disabilities socially and economically.
In an interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday, members of the Mulanje District Disability Forum expressed their dismay at government’s failure to consider their plight.
“We have a lot of challenges that we feel can be easily solved if we have the trust fund in place. We are failing to access loans late alone social support on our daily needs,” lamented Justin Nakhalale.
Nakhalale who is deputy chairperson for Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (Fedoma) committee in the district, called on government to start taking disability issues seriously.
And Duncan Kwepu secretary for the committee while concurring with Nakhalale called on President Mutharika to swiftly act on the issue, arguing persons with disabilities are being sidelined in various development initiatives.
“We don’t have funds to support our small businesses, and some of us are engaged in farming and need support on farm inputs. We believe if the trust fund was there, we could not be facing all these challenges,” said Kwepu.
Meanwhile, the country is observing a Disability Month which was launched November 3, 2016 under the theme “Achieving All the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for The Future We Want”.
The month will culminate with the Disability Day celebrations on December 3rd with main event slated for Luchenza in Mulanje district where President Mutharika is expected to be the guest of honour.