Story by Gay Matambo
The empowerment of people with disabilities remains a government priority with the vulnerable group receiving an early Christmas present this week.
In line with the Second Republic’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind government has put in place a special loan facility to assist people with disabilities.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Senator Lovemore Matuke at a handover ceremony of grocery hampers to people with disability at Tshovani Stadium in Chiredzi this Monday.
Deputy Minister Matuke said the loan facility will enable people with disabilities to draw funds for income generating projects.
“President Mnangagwa directed that there should be funds to assist people with disabilities to start their own income-generating projects. This is in line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind. Those who need the funds should apply but we are aware that some of them are not able to do these applications therefore we will send people to train them on how to run businesses. It is a special fund that has been placed under the national disability department which can be accessed by every person with disability,” he said.
The special loan facility was welcomed as a progressive move which will put an end to the begging bowl syndrome.
“We are happy that our government has rolled out a loan facility for us and it’s something that we have always struggled to get,” noted a person with disability.
Another said, “Today, we got groceries from the government and the business people in our area. We are thankful that during this festive season some good Samaritans actually think about us.”
Another added, “It’s always a challenge to secure funding to start small businesses, but if the government intervenes like it has said it will, I’m sure we will find fewer people with disabilities begging in the streets.”
Meanwhile, the business community has pledged to complement government’s efforts in improving the lives of vulnerable groups in society.
Chairperson of the Lowveld Business Development Association, Mr Venancio Kurauone said, “As businessmen in Chiredzi, we managed to mobilise funds after realising that during periods like the festive season, the less privileged members of the society need to be remembered. We managed to handover 200 grocery hampers to the less privileged who include people with disabilities and orphans. We will continue to come in to assist the less privileged members in our society.”
In line with the empowerment of people with disabilities, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the country’s disability policy last year which seeks to improve their livelihoods and enable them to contribute to the national development agenda.