Saturday, May 24, 2008

Disability activist in Zimbabwe explains problems there

Caleb Moyo, a former freedom fighter who uses a wheelchair, says he travels in the road to let people in Zimbabwe know about the inaccessibility there.

"I wanted to instill in their minds, the plight people with disabilities face in this country. Like any other Zimbabwean, I am entitled to use the road, but no provision has been made for people who use wheelchairs," he said in an interview with the Zimbabwe Guardian.

Moyo says at the Compensation House in Harare, the only access for people with disabilities to a senior Government official's office is through steep uneven stairs.

"I bluntly refused to be bundled up the stairs. Instead the meeting was held in one of the offices at the ground floor," Moyo says.

Zimbabwe's physical environment, especially in towns and cities, remains inaccessible to many people with disabilities, he says.

"The problem lies with the policymakers. In fact, as far as I am concerned, they do not know we exist. It is funny that after 28 years of Independence, the problem of people with disabilities is still being addressed as if it's something new," he said.

Moyo said in the end people with disabilities are not able to contribute to the development of the country because the "system does not accommodate us."

Zimbabwe has an estimated 1.3 million disabled people.