Nyasha N Mukapiko
A fifteen thousand dollars worthy paper making project for Highfields women with handicapped children set up with the help of the American Embassy is on the verge of extinction due to lack of commitment of the beneficiaries and limited market opportunities.
Masimba Group of Children Living with Disabilities’ paper making project was commissioned in 2008 to benefit women with handicapped children but it is now lying idle after being neglected by the proposed beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries of the project indicated that they had gone in the wrong business citing that it was a men job since it was labour intensive for women living with impairments.
“This paper making machinery was donated by the American Embassy to help women with handicapped children, it only worked for a few months and it collapsed, the paper we produced was used in the making of gift bags, envelopes, post cards among other things”, said Mary Katiyo.
Ethiel Furayi a counterpart of the then paper making project also expressed ambivalent saying the project was a huge fuss as no positive contribution was recorded.
“Our target market for the product was South Africa but no one helped us in exploring those markets, in the end we were left to depend on individuals who were sometimes failing to pay for the products”, Furayi said.
Furayi further called upon the government to roll out income generating projects to support women living with disabilities such as poultry that does not require a lot of work.
They also raised the issue of housing saying it was worsening their burdens as they were sometimes failing to get money to pay rentals.
Grace Chirenje of the Zimbabwe Young women for Peace Building Network said people with disabilities were not different from other beings hence they must get involved in all sectors.
“As an organisation we accommodate everyone without looking at whether they are disabled or not, we invite them to attend our training workshops and conference and also making sure that they are not stigmatised”, Grace highlighted.
The 3rd of December 2014 the international community celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which was running under the theme, “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology.”
According to the Unite Nations (UN), about 1 billion of the world’s population are disabled and 80% of them reside in developing countries.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated to honour and uphold an understanding of people with disabilities and to encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
In a statement by Heal Zimbabwe Trust it said state institutions and non-state groups and societies are encouraged to support the rights of the disabled, improve their quality of life and guarantee equality of opportunities and rights.