Community Development

Empower people with disabilities

Joyce Timire

People with disabilities have been sidelined in many activities in the areas of development and there is need for empowering them and ensuring that they are included in every aspect of life, Honourable Senator Joyce Timire has said.


Addressing hundreds of people who were commemorating the International Day for People with Disabilities yesterday that had the theme entitled: “Empowering Persons with Disabilities and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality”, yesterday in Highfield, Senator Joice Timire said, living with disabilities have been segregated in many societies for a long time and the issue should be addressed with an immediate effect.


The Senator said, for the theme to be pragmatic, there was need to work together to attain what the theme is saying.


“Persons with disabilities have been excluded since time immemorial and the time to address or reverse this trend is now.


“For this to become a reality, today is the time to start working together on an equal basis,” she said.


Every Zimbabwean has a role in making sure that everyone is included in every part of life and every citizen must be afforded equal opportunities without isolating others because of their condition.


“The responsibility of building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities rests on all of us. We can play a part in the inclusion process by including people with disabilities, as we do other members of our community,” she said.


The Senator stated that accepting people with disabilities was an important aspect as it is also in tandem with the issue of inclusive growth, which is important for Zimbabwe to reach its vision of becoming an upper intermediate income economy by 2030.


“Embracing persons with disabilities is very much in line with the concept of inclusive growth, a condition that is necessary for us to reach the nation’s vision of upper middle income economy by 2030, a status quo to be enjoyed by all,” she said.


Highfield East Member of National Assembly, Honourable Eric Murai who also attended the commemorations echoed similar sentiments. He underscored the importance of embracing people living with disabilities.


He said the fact that one was disabled does not mean that the individual cannot do anything in the community.


“People with disabilities should not be looked down upon and disability is not inability, because a disabled person can do anything that can be done by other people, so we should avoid the segregation,” he said.

“On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realised.” — António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.


Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the New Urban Agenda, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.


This year’s theme focused on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


This year, the UN Secretary-General launched on the Day a flagship report, entitled “UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development | 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities”. Events at UNHQ on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at UN Headquarters brought together Member States, UN entities, Mayors, national and local policy makers, civil society organizations, academic institutes and organizations of persons with disabilities to discuss the way forward for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.


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Byron Adonis Mutingwende