Traditional Authority (T/A) Mzukuzuku Jere of Mzimba has commended the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) for promoting education and enhancing the rights of people with disabilities in his area.
Macoha, with funding from Tilitonse Fund, is implementing a two-year project in Mzimba and Kasungu districts.
The project aims at improving access to basic services among people with disabilities, especially in the education sector.
But Mzukuzuku Jere noted that apart from achieving its goal of promoting education among children with disabilities, the project has also helped raise the status of people with disabilities in his area.
“People with disabilities used to be held in contempt as if they’re useless. Parents of children with disabilities, too, used to give much priority to their able-bodied children at the expense of their physically-challenged ones.
“But the attitude has changed as able-bodied persons consider people with disabilities as an integral part of the society,” said the chief in an interview Sunday.
He also disclosed that majority of children with disabilities who were stopped from attending classes by their parents have been enrolled back into their respective schools.
But Macoha Tilitonse Project Coordinator, Chimwemwe Mungomo, expressed concern over lack of political will and collaboration of stakeholders in tackling challenges that learners with disabilities face in the country.
Mungomo said despite the gallant fight the civil society organisations have mounted against discrimination of learners with disabilities, government and its stakeholders are yet to address their grievances.
“For instance, government and stakeholders are yet to enforce the disability law. Government is yet to increase financial allocation to the special needs education sector. Unless these are implemented, people with disabilities will never enjoy their rights in full,” she explained.