PEOPLE with disabilities need to use their talents in order to participate actively in the country’s economic development processes.
This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Temeke Municipal Council Social Welfare officer, Mr Theresia Nkwanga, at an event organised by Social Disability Foundation (SDF) to empower and create awareness to 150 students on how to use their talents as one of the ways of conquering poverty.
“Disability is not the end of everything but situations in life that people with disability should embrace courageously in order to remain active in the community,” she said at an event sponsored by Cowbell Tanzania.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) refers disability to any impairment, be it physical, psychological and mental, that affects participation and normal functioning of individuals in the societal structure and can be caused by environmental, genetic or personal factors.
Cowbell Tanzania Marketing Manager Vitus Mpanda pledged continued support of the organisation’s initiative geared at empowering people with disabilities to use their talents in the society.
“As manufacturers of milk products, we fully support the initiative aimed at supporting persons with disabilities live and achieve their dreams in the community,” he said.
A doctor from Temeke Referral Hospital, Mr George Tesha, said at the event that disability was not inability and thus people with disabilities should identify and recognise their abilities and use them as tools for liberating themselves from poverty.
“This event is essential as it empowers them with skills and knowledge on various issues pertaining to their situation and the community around in order that they remain active.
The SDF chairman, Sharif Makame, said that disability should not hinder people with disabilities to realise their dreams in life.
He pointed out that persons with disabilities were more likely to live in poverty because they faced many obstacles, including stigma, invisibility and abuse, had a harder time in school and a tougher time finding jobs.
Furthermore, SDF Secretary Esther Takwa said people with disabilities were sometimes denied their rights to move freely, enjoying social protection, access justice and choose medical treatment. Women with disabilities face particular challenges and need to be empowered.
“Our organisation seeks to break down some negative attitudes and institutional red tape that affect persons with disabilities and their families,” she said, adding that the initiative would involve opening up new possibilities for persons with disabilities, particularly with use of technologies,” she said.