Government Sets Aside Funds For "Income-Generating" Projects
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 3, 2004
HARARE, ZIMBABWE--Citing the increase in recent years of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe, Resident Minister for Harare Cde Witness Mangwende said the country needs to increase opportunities for them to fully participate in the economy and social life.
In a statement read to a National Disability Board workshop last week, Cde Mangwende announced that the government would spend $4.8 billion this year for the country's 1.3 million people that have disabilities. Of that, $300 million would be targeted to assist them in starting "income-generating" projects, the Herald reported.
"Zimbabwe needs to move from the welfare approach to a sustainable one where the disabled are not given mere handouts, but are actively encouraged to participate in the mainstream economy by accessing funds for self-help projects," he said.
Cde Mangwende said that Zimbabwe's population with disabilities "should not be viewed as a minority, but an important and quite a large group who have the right to be included in any developmental activities at national level and should contribute to the progress of the country."
This requires making sure that they have access to education and employment, he explained.
"Because of cultural practices and other discriminatory factors, the majority of the disabled have had little or no access to education, resulting in them being excluded in important matters to do with the economy that determine their future. This means that most of them will again be left behind when the national cake is being distributed because they will be unable to take advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves."
The increase in the numbers of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe has been attributed to aging, violence and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.