BY VANESSA GONYE
A CHRISTIAN-BASED organisation has raised concern that people with disabilities (PWDs) continue to be segregated due to negative societal attitudes which have deprived them of their rights.
Christian Blind Mission country director Deborah Tigere at the launch of the Leave No Child Behind: Invest In Early Years Programme country report for Zimbabwe said many PWDs had failed to realise their full potential due to discrimination.
As a result, she said there was need to inculcate basic understanding of disability issues and rights in the country to ensure that the dignity and rights of PWDs is respected.
“When individuals are denied opportunities to reach their maximum potential, it harms not only those individuals, but also the larger economy which depends vitally on having a skilled productive workforce,” Tigere said.
“Consistent with this research, early childhood education programmes aim to nurture healthy development from the earliest years. Programmes that provide enriched experiences for children and that also involve parents have shown to benefit children from all backgrounds, but they have the strongest influence on children from disadvantaged environments like PWDs,” she said.
Tigere said effective education led to lower rates of poverty, higher lifetime earnings and greater satisfaction on the job and at home.
The study, commissioned by Light for the World and the Open Society Foundation, analyses Zimbabwe’s early child development context, what donors are doing to support the government with overseas development assistance, and what else they could and should do.
Light for the World and its partners have conducted a detailed analysis of the aid activities of nine donors in four sub-Saharan African countries as part of its Leave No Child Behind study.
The recipient countries are Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.