BY SYND KALIMBUKA
ZOMBA, JANUARY 28, MANA: Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha has revealed that government plans to construct 250 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs) in 10 districts to increase chances of children to access education at an early stage.
She said with funding from World Bank, government would construct the modern ECDCs under a special programme called Investing in Early Years.
The Minister made the revelation on Friday at Mponda Primary School Ground in Zomba during an official opening of Special Olympics Screening Programme for people with intellectual disability.
“I assure you that my Ministry in collaboration with Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will make sure that special needs teachers assist learners in these modern ECDCs to improve inclusiveness,” Navicha said.
She said the purpose of the Special Olympics Screening Programme was to reach out and address challenges people with intellectual disability face especially to access essential services so that they can take part in development activities.
The Minister advised parents and guardians not to rock children with disabilities in doors but rather allow them to go to school and participate in community activities.
Special Olympics Malawi National Director, Enid Mauluka said the organization uses sports as a tool in special Olympics where people with intellectual disability come together and undergo health screening before actual sporting activity.
She said people with intellectual disability are always vulnerable to diseases hence brought together to participate in activities that boost their health status.
“Such people mostly face challenges in accessing health assistance especially in hospital because they are regarded as mad. As a result they are not given proper attention,” Mauluka said.
She added that the two day screening programme which will reach out to 400 people would among others address such issues.
Malawi Relief Fund UK Country Coordinator, Yakub Valli said his organization felt duty bound to take part and support the efforts of Special Olympics Malawi in uplifting the intellectual ability among people with mental challenges.
“We believe that if such people are fully supported, they can be able to contribute towards national development,” he said.
The Country Coordinator commended Special Olympics Malawi for a wonderful work in providing an intellectual shelter to Malawians born with mental challenges.
Before the official opening of the programme, Navicha toured and appreciated health screening activities which were underway at Mponda Primary School.
Special Olympics health screening programme in Zomba was organised by Special Olympics Malawi with funding from Malawi Relief Fund UK.