Fungi Kwaramba in GWERU
A Special financial window for people living with disabilities will soon be availed, including creating a facility for provision of land, houses and agricultural inputs.
Officially opening the National Disability Expo in Gweru yesterday, the President said he was pleasantly surprised by the talent exhibited by people with disabilities.
He said his Cabinet will come up with a facility that will enable people with disabilities to draw funds to expand their businesses.
The President, who in June launched the Zimbabwe National Disability Policy meant to take on board persons with disabilities in line with the National Development Strategy 1, said a special financing window, similar to the Youth Bank and Women Empowerment Bank is in the offing.
“I was happy when you invited me. I thought this was an opportunity to engage you because everyone is represented.
“When I came here, I was briefed by your leaders who said they wanted certain things to be addressed. They said there are barriers that have to be removed for people with disabilities to prosper and to be represented.
“My Government is determined to assist people with disabilities. When I toured the stands, I thought it is possible to come up with a financial window where you can access financial support.
“I will discuss this with my Cabinet and see how we can create a special window because what I saw should be supported. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of your products, some of which are crafted by the visually impaired. I believe if we come up with this fund you will excel further,” the President said.
The President, who had an interactive engagement with people living with disabilities, responded to some of their concerns, such as access to land and inputs.
“My Government will also ensure that you will be covered under the Pfumvudza scheme, all my Provincial Ministers should ensure that you get inputs, you need to mobilise yourselves and register with the ministers.
“You spoke of the removal of barriers; the law now is that no house is built without facilities for people with disabilities.
“As Government we expect you to be united, patriotic, don’t be like those who invited sanctions on this country. Whatever you want the Government to address you have the avenue to take it to me.
“We are no longer taking land but only to multiple land owners and those who have bigger farms, you will be considered for land. As for houses, I will tell my Minister of Housing and Social Amenities (Hon Daniel Garwe) that whenever we are building houses we will give a certain percentage to those with disabilities.”
The National Expo that drew participants from all the country’s 10 provinces was held under the theme “Disability mainstreaming and inclusion for a prosperous and empowered society which leaves no one behind”.
It is envisaged that the expo would go global with some of the exhibitors calling for the removal of the illegal economic sanctions imposed by Western nations.
“If you want to make this National Expo international, you should join hands with similar groups in other countries and then invite them to your programmes,” he said.
The President also explained what is encapsulated in Vision 2030 to make Zimbabwe an upper middle class economy.
“Under the Second Republic, we leave no one behind and no place behind. We plan tomorrow today. The world is changing, it’s now a world of technology. I have brought hundreds of computers for your use because it is important that we learn more about technology,” the President said.
Cabinet ministers and the President Special Advisor on People with Disabilities, Dr Joshua Malinga, attended the colourful event.
Organisations representing people with disabilities are exhibiting products, talents, crafts and other services.
The expo’s key focus is to bring awareness to people living with disabilities of existing technologies, equipment, aids, services and products.