By Daniel Kasondo
Inkosi Bvumbwe of Thyolo has challenged communities to take a role in supporting persons with disabilities if such people were to live a normal life in their areas.
Inkosi Bvumbwe was speaking on Wednesday at Bvumbwe Research Station ground during an open day organised by the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) as part of commemoration of disability month.
“Most people with disabilities come from poor families and it demands the community to help them live a better life,” said Bvumbwe.
Bvumbwe said as a community leader, he established a special committee at Traditional Authority level which looks at the affairs of people with disabilities in his area.
He said through the committee, children with different disabilities have been sent to school while the elderly supported with financial and material support for their small scale businesses.
“We’ve imparted some skills to people with disabilities, both men and women who just need small support for them to start small scale businesses. The communities can do something about it. It’s not the issue of government or non-governmental organisations alone,” said Bvumbwe
Thyolo District Disability Forum chairperson, Sam Chigamba said it was high time communities realised that people with disabilities had the capacity to engage in meaningful development activities in their local areas and the country at large.
Chigamba said there was a need for communities to include people with disabilities in all development programs.
“People with disabilities don’t need to be side-lined, they have the capacity to perform, only if they can be included in all development activities,” said Chigamba.
Chigamba, therefore, thanked Inkosi Bvumbwe for taking a leading role in recognising the persons with disabilities and giving them chance to expose their potential through the support they are given.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) on the side-lines of the open day, Josephine Mtamila, a teacher living with albinism, said there was high chance of most children with disabilities excelling in their education if people around them gave them the necessary support.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if the community didn’t support me and my family. I’ve gone through different hands to excel in my education. My parents couldn’t manage alone,” said Mtamila, who teaches Standard 4 at Chisawani Primary School.
This year’s disability month is commemorated under the theme: ‘From exclusion to inclusion,’ which encourages inclusion of disabled in all development programs.