Govt inaugurates 1bn/- project for PLWD

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Youth, Employment & Disabled), Patrobas Katambi has launched a 1bn/- economic empowerment project for people living with disabilities (PLWD) to be implemented in Dar es Salaam and Singida regions.

The two-year project organized by the Sightsavers organization is aimed at creating an inclusive labour market for all people especially to those with disabilities.

Speaking on Thursday during the launching ceremony at Millennium Tower in Dar es Salaam, the minister said  as the government continues to strengthen security and peace in the country, it’s upon the various rights’ groups as stakeholders to advice on changes of the policy, which bring a new life and answers demands of people living with disabilities.

“Many things have changed. Disability is interpreted in a different way than it was before. Policy lasts only for ten years. We are going to make policy changes…and in the process we shall include with our intentions, desires and the reality for the people with disabilities, we shall involve all stakeholders, it will not be a matter of doing it ourselves. The policy must involve the targeted people,” Mr Katambi said.

In addition, he said they also plan to change the disabled people’s law while embarking on educating the society and changing their mindset on people living with disabilities.

“It is important to remove negativity and impart positivity in people’s mindsets but also, to change their own mindsets as well. People with disabilities have to know themselves and protect their rights; they should know that disability is not inability. They should believe that they can achieve whatever it is they want to achieve,” the minister stated.

Emphasizing on the matter, Mr Katambi mentioned three main strategic plans implemented by the government as a way of empowering the special group.

• In the area education-The government plans to develop various schemes that will help them get rid of dependency and this includes reviving the more than seven colleges of people with disabilities that were defunct for more than seven years.
• To create inclusiveness in ensuring that in every employment with 20 employees, 3 per cent should be people living with disabilities.
• Continuing with the plan of employing 2 per cent to people living with disabilities.

Speaking earlier, Sightsavers Country Director, Godwin kabalika, said in implementing the project they will provide education to employers on how to live and cater for disabled people at work places as well as building their capacity and confidence as employees/job seekers.

Sightsavers Country Director, Godwin kabadilika

“There have been a lot of challenges in the labour market especially to our colleagues with disabilities. Before doing this project, we did a labor market assessment to see what the labor market in Tanzania is like, and the results showed that people with disabilities still have little participation in the market,” Mr kabalika said.

Elaborating he said, apart from helping disabled people to get employment in various institutions, they will also help farmers with disability by ensuring that there is an inclusive value chain and build their capacity in various products so that they can get value and be connected with customers.

“As of now, we have already spoken with Serengeti Breweries Limited for them to be cultivated and supplied with sorghum from people with disability in Singida region,” he added.

Equally, he said that the organization plans to extend the project to other regions based on the positive results that will be obtained from this first experience.

Mr kabalika said the project is a continuation of Sightsavers economic investment projects conducted in other countries including, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Bangladesh and in this next phase the project will also be implemented not only in Tanzania but also Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The project is being implemented in partnership between the government, associations of people with disabilities and private institutions.

On her part, the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) Health and Wellness Coordinator, Hellen Mkwizu showed her readiness in supporting the project and the group saying that they will encourage employers to hire people living with disabilities and manage equal opportunities for all in work places.

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