State commits 8bn/- to empower PWD

State commits 8bn/- to empower PWD

PEOPLE with Disabilities (PWD) have reason to smile after the government committed 8bn/- to the establishment of two new institutions to empower them.

Ms Ummy Nderiananga, Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Persons with Disabilities, revealed this in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, at an event to launch the 'My Choice, My Rights' program.

She stated  the colleges will be constructed in Kigoma and Songwe regions, with another one being built with support from a stakeholder in Shinyanga region,

"There are specific strategies in place to guarantee that issues affecting persons living with disabilities are prioritized, including renovating colleges, one of which will be completed in January next year in Mwanza," she said.

The 'My Choice, My Rights' program, which was developed in collaboration with the UNFPA and the Finnish Embassy, will be implemented in Mara, Shinyanga, and Zanzibar regions.

The program's goal is to empower women and young people, particularly adolescent girls, including those living with disabilities, to defend and uphold their sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as their right to live a life free of violence and harmful practices.

Ms Ummy says PWD need to be confident and self-reliant in their affairs, adding that through the program they will be empowered to do so.

Ms Jacquline Mahon, UNFPA Representative in Tanzania, said that the  project brings together at a national dialogue, government officials, representatives from regional commissioner offices and women-and youth-led organizations of persons with disabilities.

Her list also included implementing partners, inter-faith leaders, community leaders and members, women and girls as well as men and boys to determine and discuss how to work collectively.

It also brought onboard women and young people as well as persons living with disabilities so that they can take charge of their bodies, lives and futures.

She said according to Tanzania’s 2012 census, 9.3 per cent of the country’s population live with disabilities, although the data does not include young people or children living with disabilities.

She said the same data indicate that persons living with disabilities are less likely to attend school, and be able to read or write, while only 34 per cent of males and 35 per cent of females living with a disability are employed, leaving PWDs far behind.

“For women and girls living with disabilities, particularly in rural areas and humanitarian settings, gender and disability discrimination intersect to create brutal barriers to their well-being and place them at risk of violence, harmful practices, abuse, and exploitation.” she said

Elaborating, Ms Jacquline shared the short story of ‘Zinduna’ who is visually impaired, saying: “She has never met her father and her mother is often away for days labouring on a farm. When her mother leaves for work, Zinduna is locked inside the house. Her sisters go to school, but she doesn’t.  She spends most of her time at home, alone leaving her potentials untapped.

“This is an all too common narrative in Tanzania - and around the world.”

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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