Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr Jean Kalilani has indicated that her ministry will deal with anybody or any authority who works to infringe on rights of persons with disability.
The minister said this on Saturday at Sub Traditional Authority Ndakwera in Chikwawa District when she officially closed the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) flag week.
“Persons with disability, just like any other, have the right to take part in development initiatives in the country. It is my plea to everyone here and across the country that we should not at any cost discriminate people with disability.
“It is sad to note that some people with disability are denied owning land or they lose it to other local chiefs and other authorities claiming the disabled cannot work on them,” she said.
The minister observed that there is also the tendency by some chiefs and other people not to include persons with disability in Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP).
She said it was through FISP that persons with disabilities would be able to produce more and some of the produce would be sold out to generate some income.
She, however, indicated the need for concerted efforts from various stakeholders in the country to empower those with disabilities if their lives are to be improved.
“At council level, let’s make sure we include persons with disability, for example, during community day inclusive awareness meetings, council development initiatives, business developments, and social cash transfers as well as the Early Childhood Development (ECD) services,” she said.
In an interview, one of the disabled farmers working within Ndakwera Irrigation Scheme, Elia Jofilisi told, Malawi News Agency (Mana) that he and other disabled farmers had not received the coupons.
MACOHA Executive Director, Peter Ngomwa, expressed the need to identify funds towards the development of 18 hectares for Ndakwera Irrigation Scheme which has 14 families with various forms of disability planting crops such as millet, sorghum, maize and cotton among others.
He said the flag week, which was inaugurated on 6th November, 2017, has so far realized money around K2 million from the target of K8 million and said more donations were needed.
“We have drilled a borehole within the scheme but we need to buy a pump as well as solar panels that will enable our colleagues working on the farm to pump water to various areas within the scheme,” he said.
The flag week is organized yearly in order to enable the organization (MACOHA) fundraise for various projects being implemented.
There are over 1.3 million persons with disabilities in the country.