June 11th, 2021 PRESS RELEASE

LEFT BEHIND & LEFT OUT- THE VOICE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

It is now more than a week since the Minister of Finance presented the 2021/22 National Budget and  hearing reactions from the general public what one hears is optimism. However, as the disability movement in the country, the observation is to the contrary. What has been noted is that the budget just as the previous years, leaves a lot to be desired. However, what is moving persons with disabilities this time there is a stronger realization within the movement that ‘we are Malawians just like all other citizens’. This statement is being made following the many sentiments coming from Malawians with disabilities, disability rights activists, professionals in the sector as well as parents of children with disabilities.

the disability movement in then country has learnt with great shock and disappointment that the budgetary allocation for disability affairs has been significantly reduced from the previous years’ allocation, considering the current economic dynamics, magnitude of challenges faced by persons with disabilities, visa-vis, the negligence rendered to the plight of persons with disabilities over the years as well as government commitment to various local and international human rights and development instruments.
It has been noted that the allocation to the ministry of gender, community development and social welfare includes an allocation specifically for the albinism related programs amounting to MK300m which cannot be contested much. However, there is an allocation for the Disability Trust Fund amounting to MK75m down from MK100million from the 2020/21 national budget, which was also a reduction from MK200million in 2019/20 national budget. The two hundred million was also considered low if the Disability Trust Fund was to be made effective more especially at a time of its establishment. Now that the allocation is MK75m, persons with disabilities really feel left behind.
The allocation of MK123m to the department of disability renders the entity almost non-functional more especially as it is supposed to serve almost 10.4% of the population.
Further more, the allocation of about MK783m in the current budget, from MK1,044b for 2020/21 budget to MACOHA is clear that the institution will not render services to its targeted population as the amount will predominantly cover administrative costs.
It has also been noted that the allocation to the department of Special Needs Education in the ministry of Education amounting to MK33m which does not include teaching & learning materials, this is a great disaster in the efforts to ensure access to equitable and quality education by children with disabilities. We therefore, strongly feel this will frustrate initiatives to mobilize parents of children with disabilities to bring the children to school, since the unwelcome status of our schools for children with disabilities will surely remain unattended to. It is frustrating further to learn that in the current budget (2020/21) the allocation is MK494m, meaning the MK33m is a drastic reduction of the budgetary allocation to the department.
Similarly, the allocation to Malawi Against Physical disabilities pegged at MK300M, a reduction from the current financial year of MK600 million limits the functionality of the institution. This means persons with physical disabilities will not easily access assistive devices and other rehabilitation services. It also poses a danger of increasing number of persons with physical disabilities due to inadequate rehabilitation services.
The 2021/22 budget therefore does not meet government’s obligation in promoting, protecting and fulfilling rights of persons with disabilities in the country. Much as the government is the custodian of the National Disability Mainstreaming Strategy of 2018, which is well budgeted, this budget does not support it. The sprit in which UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been extinguished in this budget. The commitment made in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III adopting disability as an integral part of the instrument is seriously impaired by the budget and the motto of the agenda of 2030 for Sustainable Deployment of ‘Leaving no one behind’ is not just left behind but left out.
The picture seen in the above-mentioned allocations does not inspire confidence in the government’s commitment to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy their rights through this national budget. The situation of persons with disabilities is worsening day to day due to lack of disability specific and all-inclusive services. The fact that there is an apparent reduction of financial allocation for disability related programs, is a cause for worry among persons with disabilities.
FEDOMA and the entire disability movement would therefore like to appeal the Malawi Parliament to pay special attention allocations made to disability related programs and ensure they are revised upwards. It is also our hope that the Minister of Finance will prioritize disability as revisions are suggested in or outside Parliament.
It is only this gesture that will help in making Malawians with disabilities to start feeling they are also Malawians. Otherwise, the current status makes persons with disabilities feel left behind and left out.

Below are signatures from Heads of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities OPDs

  • EXPOSING THE POSITIVE LIFE OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM

       

    The united  Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on December 18th 2014, designating June 13 every  year as an International  Albinism Awareness Day. This landmark resolution reaffirmed the international community commitment to albinism advocacy.

    Albinism is a genetically inherited non-contagious dissimilarity that is both sexes and occurs in all places around the world , regardless of origin civilization, or culture. Albinism is characterized by a lack of pigment (Melamin) in the hair, skin, and eyes making the person vulnerable to the sun and strong light. As a result, particularly everyone with albinism is visually impaired and is at a risk for skin cancer. There is no therapy or cure for albinism.

    Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Albinism Awareness Day on 13th June, 2021. However, the main commemorative event will take place on 26th June  2021  at Nkhotakota Community Ground in Nkhotakota District.

    This year’s theme in Malawi is  ‘Exposing the positive life of persons with albinism’.  Internationally the theme is ‘Strengthen against all odds’  This comes at a time that persons with albinism in Malawi had continued living in fear considering that within the year, some more cases on the atrocities them  have been registered. This is  a cause of a concern as it significantly and negatively affect the full and effective participation of persons with albinism in various socio-economic endeavors. Although persons with albinism face such atrocities, they contribute meaningfully to the national development agenda. It is with this regard, this year’s them  was chosen  to celebrate the achievements and successes of persons with albinism worldwide. It is  also a call to stand in solidarity with persons with albinism throughout their challenges.

    As we commemorate the day, Federation of Disability  Organizations in Malawi  FEDOMA as an apex  body of 12 Organizations of Persons with Disabilities  OPDs such include:  APAM, APPDM, DIWODE, DWOOM, DROM, MANAD, MUB, MEHUCA, NEA, PODCAM, SIAMA  & VIHEMA  would like  to call upon the government  of  republic  of Malawi to take serious measures to curb these malpractices.  This involves handling the fight against the vice not in the manner of business as usual but business unusual.

    It will be important  at a point Malawi is to sick international help more especially in investigating  the cases  and discover the market.  The fact the  prosecution is able to secure conviction, is sign enough that capacity is there to  investigate wrong doings  but the continued  attacks confirms that the investigative processes is still missing a piece   to establish this, surely the market  hence our call.

    In addition, we are calling upon the Malawi judiciary to employ deliberate measures so as to expediate the process of trying the many outstanding albinism related cases. Much  as it is appreciated that the judicature is still grapping  with so many other outstanding cases, speeding up the case in question, has a strong bearing in efforts to deal with these atrocities.

    As we commemorate the day, we would like to wish all the best  to  all  Malawians with albinism and shine  more from 13th June, 20221 and beyond.

MBS DRAFTS A WORKPLACE DISABILITY MAINSTREAMING POLICY



IT is increasingly apparent that persons with disabilities not only have a valuable contribution to the national economy but their  employment is also a catalyst to economic empowerment and poverty reduction. There is a strong business case for employing persons with disabilities qualified for a particular job. Employers may gain by expanding the number of eligible workers through the inclusion approach. Further gains may emanate from continuing the employment of those who acquire disability while at work, to return valuable expertise.
It is with this regard the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) decided to draft a disability mainstreaming policy to accommodate persons with disabilities by creating an enabling environment within the organization and other relevant stake holders to achieve inclusiveness at all levels of operations.

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FEDOMA COURTS ADCs ON DISABILITY INCLUNSION



The Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) has said Area Development Committees ADCs and Village Development Committee VDCs are key structures where persons with disabilities can be incorporated and where they can raise their concerns that affect their daily livelihood. More

LOUIS RANKS TOP POSITION AT MHRC: DISABILITY MATTERS LESS

LOUIS NOW CHAIRS MHRC

History has been written in the books of Malawi as the country has seen a person with disability, Scader Louis being elected as chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Commission MHRC. Loius is among the two from the disability sector saving at MHRC as she goes along with Boniface Massah, a person with albinism who is currently saving as a commissioner at that Human Rights body.
Sending his congratulatory message that was posted on FEDOMA Facebook, FEDOMA’s Acting Executive Director, Simon Munde, wishes Louis a good life as she works tirelessly to advocate for the rights of minority groups. He therefore, assured her that Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in Malawi OPDs will give her moral support so that human rights issues should be advanced. More