Tanzania: Don't Hide Disabled People, Tanzanians Told

TANZANIA Federation of Disabled People's Organizations (Shivyawata) has launched a youth wing organ to expose people with disabilities who have been kept indoors.

During the launching ceremony in Dar es Salaam recently, the Wing's Secretary, Mr Genarius Ernest said that Shivyawata had conducted investigations and found a number of households hiding family members with disabilities, hence denying them various human rights, including access to education.

"As human beings, people with disabilities have the right to make decisions, especially on issues that directly touch their lives. It is improper to keep them indoors all the time," said the Secretary who joined the Federation after losing his leg to a tragic road accident about five years ago.

According to him, the Wing members will be conducting door-to-door programmes to search for the hidden disabled people.

He said the members will also educate the public on the need to take out people with disabilities for various services, including education.

He said that the Wing is constitutionally recognized by the Federation but had never been active.

He insisted: "We are now going to bring them out and let the government and other stakeholders support them by offering education and other essential needs," he said.

Youth Development officer from the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner's office, Mr Masalida Njashi praised the move, affirming that about 48 per cent of disabled people have neither reading nor writing skills.

He said that the Wing has various important roles to play, mostly serving as a permanent address to all disabled people.

"There are special programmes which need inclusion of young people with disabilities, but we have nowhere exactly to find them. Being members of the Wing means it is easier to trace them. It is in such a way that they will have direct access to the two per cent of the Municipal Funds that have been set aside specifically for them," said Mr Njashi.

Meanwhile, Shivyawata also launched "Inclusion is our business" project, whose objectives are similar to those of the Youth Wing.

It is a six month project from June, under the 25m/- sponsorship of the Voice -Tanzania, said the Project Coordinator, Mr Genarius Ernest.

"The project is for the Dar es Salaam region, but we seek for more sponsors so that we can reach all disabled people country-wide," he said.

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