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Reports are rife that a lot of people with disabilities are being discriminated against in as far as covid-19 issues are

This ranges from trainings, information sharing and even funds that people are benefiting from government and other stakeholders to help people in their welfare during the tragic period.

Dorica Kang’oma, a person with disability from Kalonjere village Traditional Authority Sitola in Machinga district said she has never benefited from either government or any organization in terms of funds or Personal Protective
Equipment – PPE’s.

Kang’oma further said she did not even know how the virus is transmitted, its prevention or signs and symptoms.

“I was never told anything except seeing people with masks which they do not explain why they wear them. I heard
that some people were trained and even received money to buy some things which will help them to protect
themselves from catching the disease but I was never approached,” said Kang’oma

After receiving some Covid-19 PPE’s and training from Joy Abilities Empowerment on 24th July 2021, Kang’oma could not hide her happiness and also pleaded with other stakeholders to emulate the
kind gesture.

She said: “Since covid-19 started wreaking havoc, this is the first time we have received PPEs; therefore, I am
pleading with other stakeholders to emulate this good gesture here in our area.”

Joy Abilities Empowerment Director Bernadette Vaz said they thought of helping people with disabilities with the
PPEs because many of them cannot afford to buy the preventive materials.

Vaz, has however, asked government and other stakeholders to consider helping people with disabilities during
these covid 19 hard times.

“We thought of helping the people with disability as we know that it must be very hard for them to acquire the necessities. During this time a lot of things are at stand still and people are struggling socially and economically giving high chances for disabled people to suffer a lot as they already face challenges in their livelihood. Let me take this opportunity to ask government and other stakeholders to look after people with disabilities and help them in this
covid-19 pandemic,” said Vaz.

Member of Parliament for Machinga Likwenu Constituency Bright Msaka, speaking at the donation vowed to take
care of people with disability. He also asked traditional leaders to incorporate people with disabilities in all programs and projects taking place in their areas saying they are part of the community.

“Leaving people with disability aside in development hinders growth of the area, these people are our brothers and
sisters; they have ideas that can help in development so I ask leaders and other stakeholders to include them in our
affairs,” said Msaka.

He as well asked people in Machinga to adhere to covid-19 prevention measures so as to stay safe from the pandemic. The legislator has since asked relatives to people with disabilities to be more careful and take good care of them.

“It is our duty to look and take care of our relatives with disabilities, it’s hard for them to look after themselves since
they depend on us who are able so let’s be safe for them to be safe”, said Msaka.

In a separate interview, social commentator Aubrey Thom Vakhani expressed disappointment over the
news that a good number of people with disabilities have not benefited from covid-19 funds.

“With media reports that a lot of funds are being swindled by other stakeholdersit is very pathetic to hear that people
with disability have not benefited from covid-19 funds. This has probably been the practice in most parts of the country and not in Machinga alone,” said Vakhani.

He said, “It is unfortunate that some people including traditional leaders assume that people with disabilities
have no ability to do something on their own. This is why in community programs and development projects, people with disability are rarely involved, let alone being consulted.

Vakhani said people with disability have the potential to positively contribute towards national development through
various skills if given a chance. He therefore asked chiefs and other stakeholders to change their way of doing things and incorporate all groups of people in their areas.

He has also asked government to put in place measures to do with the equal sharing of resources among people in
the communities.

“Chiefs must embrace mindset change in as far handling issues to do with people with disability so that they benefit just like the rest of people in the society. Authorities should put some by-laws in place to deal with chiefs who discriminate against people with disability in their respective communities,” said Vakhani.