Shurugwi town council has been commended by the Quadriplegics & Paraplegics Association of Zimbabwe(QPAZ) in partnership with Leornard Chishire Disability for their inclusion policy to further the agenda of the disability inclusion movement.
Speaking during a meeting held in Kwekwe recently QPAZ director Audrey Rusike said that so far in Midlands province they are working with six districts in setting up this pilot project.
“We are working with PWDs in Kwekwe, Shurugwi, Silobela, Zvishavane, and Gweru to set upward development committee mainly with the reason of allowing them to be involved and included in all decision making bodies,” she said.
Rusike further highlighted that so far there is a positive response from these ward-based committees especially in Shurugwi where the local council has already been engaged.
“I am happy in Shurugwi so far our committee which was set up recently engaged Shurugwi council and reached a consensus where our members will be given 15 % of stands which will be distributed by the council. They also gave people living with disability who have houses an offer not to pay rate charges and even those who operate in the markets are not paying,” she said.
Rusike said that this kind gesture by Shurugwi council shows that they are surely recognising PWDs while leaving no one behind and hoped that all district councils in Midlands will follow suit from what Shurugwi has done.
Speaking on the same occasion QPAZ communication officer Nozipho Rutsate said that, these ward development committees are there to ensure that there is equality in our society and are going to be led by PWDs.
“The ward committees are apolitical and they are led by people with disabilities to help themselves advocate for their rights be it in schools, clinics, or in local authorities. There is a need for their representatives to be part of every structure in society,” she said.
Rutsate said that currently, they realised that most ward development committees in our societies do not include people with disabilities, and therefore, they is a need for disability inclusion in line with the National Disability Policy.
“Equality can only be achieved if we work with People Living with Disabilities and these structures we are setting up will work with Victim Friendly Unit, the Local Authorities and even in schools advocating for their rights, for example, in the education sector we want friendly disabilities structures and also teachers who understand People with Disabilities,” she said.
People Living with disabilities who were part of the meeting welcomed the initiative and said this would help them engage with relevant stakeholders collectively.