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NGO calls for establishment of Disability Empowerment Fund

• Government must establish sustainable empowerment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
• President Lungu should support the independence of persons with disabilities.
• Due to COVID-19, persons with disabilities are living in abject poverty.

A Non-governmental Organization has called for the creation of a Disability Empowerment Fund to help support persons with disabilities.
Born Short Living Tall (BSLT) Executive Director Ntalasha Chisha told Money FM News that Government must establish real and sustainable empowerment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Chisha noted that persons with disabilities are the most hit when calamities like the corona virus strike, thereby making life much difficulty for them due to their physical status.
He pointed out that the creation of a Disability Empowerment Fund will send a strong message of Government’s resolve in empowering the minority in society.
“BSLT Zambia would like to appeal to President Edgar Lungu to support the independence of persons with disabilities and create real and sustainable empowerment opportunities for them by creating a Disability Empowerment Fund in the wake of the deadly corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
“As an organization focused on ensuring that differently-abled persons have an equal share from the national cake, we believe that the creation of this fund by the President and Government as a whole, specifically for differently-abled persons will send a strong message of Government’s resolve in empowering the minority in society and living no one behind in the development agenda of the nation,” Mr. Chisha said.
Mr. Chisha observed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities are living in abject poverty because of the limited opportunities available for them.
He further noted that differently-abled persons do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with the able-bodied which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation among others.
“As such, the creation of a Disability Empowerment Fund will no doubt help differently-abled persons become self-employed as they will be able to develop their entrepreneurship capacity and spur them to own and operate their businesses just like able-bodied persons.”
“This will also assist persons with all types of disabilities to achieve their maximum level of sustainable independence and contribute to the economic growth of our country as they will be equal participants in the development agenda, knowing that disability is not inability and will never be,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chisha urged the Ministry of Community Development and Social welfare to forge partnerships with disability – led organizations and other stakeholders in order to devise more ways of empowerment persons with disabilities in the country by expanding the range of social programs.
“Until these deliberate steps are taken, we will not come up with a National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities and their future will remain uncertain. We however recognize Government’s efforts in addressing challenges affecting different groups such as the youth and women and as such, the establishment of a Disability Empowerment Fund will be a breakthrough in bringing to end the segregatory and discriminatory empowerment barriers for this group of people in our country,” Mr. Chisha added.

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