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PWDs, Youths Call For Inclusion In Economic Empowerment

People with Disabilities (PWDs) and youths have called for empowerment and greater inclusion into mainstream economic activities.

Speaking on the sidelines of a mango drying training workshop in Harare on Thursday, Signs of Hope Trust director Samantha Sibanda said it is time to move away from giving PWDs handouts or social protection.

“What we are looking forward to is an empowered person with disability, an empowered young person because we have seen that social protection is not the way to go. If we look at the national disability policy, it talks about moving away from charity model where we are seeing PWDs being given aid, handouts, food but we are now taking the social model and the human rights model as a country where we are saying we need PWDs to be empowered.

“In the inclusive national budget we made some key demands to the Ministry of Finance and one of the demands was we no longer need the charity model anymore. Where they are saying we want social protection to be a lot to Persons with Disabilities but we are asking for revolving funds that also cater for PWDs,” Sibanda said.

She said the national budget statement had catered for revolving funds and banks for empowerment purposes which they had advocated for.

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“Since we had advocated for these as an organisation, we were happy to see this but now we do not want a situation where they say there is low uptake. We need PWDs, young people to understand what opportunities lie within the national budget. Today we just started on our mango drying workshop where we are saying this is a business that can be sustainable that also enable PWDs to run sustainable business where they can even export their goods,” she said.

Charity Chaturuka programs coordinator at For Youth By Youth a youth oriented organisation based in Harare said empowerment of youths will solve some of the country’s societal ills.

“Our call is to have youth empowerment in sectors of the economy through entrepreneurship and development. Right now we have youth who are engaging in substance and drug abuse because they have nothing to do but if they are empowered  it can go a long way in improving their lives. Trainings such as these are critical. There was also a presentation from the women empower bank which was packed with information that we were not aware of,” said Chaturuka.

Takawira Mutami a participant at the workshop said “Taking a look at the opportunities in the recently presented budget I am glad that it includes persons with disabilities. We need youths empowerment across all sectors of the economy. As persons with disabilities, I urge colleagues to take up these opportunities presented through the Empower Bank.”

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