Two local advocacy groups that work with People with Disabilities (PWDs) in conjunction with the United Nations Zimbabwe have launched a campaign that seeks inclusion of people with disabilities in national development.
Spearheaded by Signs of Hope Trust and the Space, the campaign dubbed #IAMABLE seeks to raise awareness against stereotyping and prejudices against people with disabilities in the country.
Signs of Hope Trust founder Samantha Sibanda said there has been an increase in prejudice and stereotyping in the country and they are advocating for a change in attitude.
“What we are seeing is a lot of prejudice and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities it’s a worry and as an organisation we have been advocating for a change in attitude and we have been advocating for self-representation.
“We feel that this is the time for people with disabilities to represent themselves as we are doing this hashtag I Am Able we are profiling young people with disabilities who are doing a lot of good stuff in the communities they live,” said Sibanda
She said they are looking forward to a time where Parliament representation for people with disabilities will be realised after the campaign.
“We also see the issue of representation in Parliament that we only have two seats that are reserved for people with disabilities and we feel that this is not enough, we are looking forward to this hash tag I am able initiative to show the political parties that people with disabilities also need representation in terms of leadership.” she said
Jennifer Madiriza says she is a victim of stereotyping and prejudice and lamented that it is rife in the country.
“We have observed that stereotyping is rampant in the country and I am a victim and it has to start with us.” said Madiriza
Co-founder of the Space, Annah Matsika echoed the same sentiments saying the campaign will culminate into a document that will guide the nation on the plight of people with disabilities.
“Basically I Am Able is a campaign that the Space is implementing in partnership with Signs of Hope Trust to raise awareness throughout our societies regarding people with disabilities to combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices but also promoting people with disabilities’ capabilities and their contribution to national development.
“This campaign is going to culminate into a guidance document which will be shared throughout the country in terms of raising campaigns mainly on stereotypes and prejudices that inhibiting participation of people with disabilities. Guidance documents are a result of meetings such as the one that we had where people with different disabilities were sharing some of the stereotypes they were facing.” said Matsika