Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Jean Sendeza on Friday launched this year’s disability awareness month which will focus on disaster preparedness and recovery.
During the launch in Lilongwe, she said the month, which runs from November 3 to December 3 2023, will allow the country to reflect on interventions aimed at improving the welfare of persons with disabilities.
Sendeza: We want to highlight their challenges
“Among activities during the month include showcasing of positive influences that persons with disabilities are making in society, highlighting challenges experienced by persons with disabilities, especially during disasters and raising community awareness on issues affecting persons with disability,” said Sendeza.
She called on all stakeholders, including the media to support the activities of the month.
According to Sendeza, events to mark the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Malawi will be held on December 8 in Mulanje District.
Speaking during the function, Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) board member Charles Banda said they are looking forward to having the Persons with Disability Bill tabled and passed in Parliament during the month.
The Bill seeks to empower the government to set a percentage at which employers will be mandated to hire persons with disabilities, on merit.
It will also see the establishment of the Disability Trust Fund which will support the implementation of disability programmes and services.
Said Banda: “Persons with disabilities face cross-cutting challenges, especially during disasters, they are always sidelined when it comes to rescue and recovery operations. Our education system is still not yet inclusive and when it comes to agriculture, most of our members don’t benefit from programmes such as the Affordable Input Programme.”
The Person with Disability Bill was drafted and presented to the Ministry of Justice in 2018.
Malawi Human Rights Commission commissioner Boniface Massa said the launch is timely as it will allow stakeholders to raise awareness and reflect on where to improve as far as the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities is concerned.
The theme for the month set aside by the United Nations is ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs’.