Scores of disabled people in Malawi gang up at ministry: Demand grants

People with Disabilities manifested in Lilongwe on Tuesday as they = gathered at the Ministry of Disabilities and the Elderly, demanding that they be assisted with grants to run self-sustenance businesses.

Lilongwe Chairperson who is leading the group, Elifa M’bwana, has vowed the group will not budge until they are positively addressed.

The group claims minister Ireen Kachere had an appointment with the group’s representative’s last year on30th July 2012, where she promised them their problems would be addressed.

“She asked us how much each one of us would require to set up a business and we said at least K350, 000. The minister said the president would be glad to assist us. We need this assistance because we are arrested when on the streets begging. This is our way out of misery,” said a visibly angry M’bwana.

Holding a vigil
Holding a vigil

He added that they were promised to meet President Joyce Banda on 12th January 2013 but received a phone call rescheduling them to an undetermined date.

“We have decided to camp here though they are telling us both the minister and the Principle Secretary are outside the country. We came here yesterday,” he explained.

Recently, John Kafodya, a physically challenged businessman left Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) disappointed when he was blocked from meeting the Minister, Kachere to expressed his grievances.

Some disabled people who spoke to Nyasa Times said they were fed up with being vilified as scroungers by successive governments.

In Malawi, people with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor. Statistics indicate that many of them probably live on less than a dollar a day.

Ministry officials refused to be named, and only asked the group to go back till the top officials return, to no avail.

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