Disability remains a key limiting factor in the educational endeavors of persons with disabilities, but for two Mberengwa youths, their stories changed for the better after the government came to their rescue and enrolled them at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre which offers free education for persons with disabilities.
In 2021 government introduced the National Disability Policy which is committed to fulfilling, promoting, protecting, and respecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
Earlier this year, three members of the Association of the Disabled and Elderly Persons in Zimbabwe (ADEPZ) were blessed to be among the short-listed beneficiaries of the government’s scholarship educational program. They have applauded the government for bringing this program which they say has resurrected their lost hopes.
After five years of hopelessness, despite having completed his advanced level in 2016, Admire Zhou (34), who is physically impaired, says this scholarship fund will be a stepping stone in his life.
“With all those years I spent home idle, despite having an Advanced level certificate, I was beginning to lose hope, but with this one-year training scholarship opportunity, my dreams have become a reality. I have enrolled for the Information and Communication Technology Fundamentals program, all thanks to the government’s programs to upgrade those with disabilities,” Zhou said.
For Obey Zhou (28), one of the program beneficiaries who is deaf, this free education program is a great stride by the government in equalising opportunities between the persons with disabilities, and the others. It is also a major step in the fulfillment of equal human rights, regardless of disability.
“Recently, my colleagues and I were enrolled at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre to study our desirable course on a government scholarship basis. This is a major move by the government in promoting equal rights, and access to educational opportunities between us the disabled, and those who are not. Our dreams have been turned into reality, I just want to appreciate the works of the government in remembering us, we have been marginalised for too long,” said Zhou.
Speaking to this publication, the focal person for ADEPZ in Mberengwa, Primrose Nyangoni, thanked the government for the decentralisation of these opportunities to the rural communities which have been left out in the previous programs.
“This is a positive move by the government but there’s still more to be done. We need income generating projects which are specifically made for the disabled so that we empower them, not only with education but also income generating skills,” said Nyangoni.