Young Women with Disability Bemoan Constitutional Cavity on Disability Rights Provision

Young women with disability bemoan the constitution provision on section 22, 83 that it must take appropriate measures within the limits of the resources available to it, 83c to provide special facilities for their education, d) provide state funded education and training where they need it. Participants felt that the statement above take away all the much celebrated progressive constitutional rights on disability. The cavity has hindered women with disability from accessing the constitutional provision on education (section 27), section 75 on right to education.

This is evidenced by the unpreparedness and unwillingness of the education system to be inclusive. The half day meeting with young women with disability in Masvingo it emerged that the schools are not yet ready for an inclusive education as evidenced by infrastructures that are not accessible, from the desks, the toilets to the learning aid. Loraine Moyo (not real name) said she had to drop out of school because the school has no accessible toilets the doors are small her will chair could not fit in into the toilet she had to throw herself from the wheel chair and crawl into the toilet, which most the time was not clean, in the toilet they had no rails to support her on the toilet seat yet the seat was very high for her as both her legs and hands have been amputed.

A female teacher from Zimbabwe Association of Visually Impaired teachers highlighted that the general assumption is that young women with disability needs life skills and informal skills not formal education. She also pointed that though that is the general assumption Masvingo province does not have even a single government supported rehabilitation center that is offering life skill services specifically to meet the need of women with disability. She concluded that the cavity has also made it possible for government, through its ministry to fail to prioritize disability needs evidenced by lack of funding for disability sports, absence of schools for children with disability in districts like Chiredzi which has over 700 children with disability who are of school going age.

Abigail one of the young girls who is attending school at one of the schools for children with visual impairment highlighted that’ she would give anything to attend an inclusive school as she highlighted that it is the most effective way that we can deal with the issue of stigma and discrimination, if it becomes normal for children to interact and understand disability from the time they are young. She claims that though she appreciates the school she attending at times she feels like she is being quarantined from her entire generation and community.

The cavity has taken away all the celebrated provisions of the constitution as government, service providers are getting away with not prioritizing disability needs in planning and resource allocation, “How can you put such a provision in a constitution when you know that provisions of these rights have cost implications why didn’t they put a percentage to say for example 20% schools have to be accessible,” retorted MS Mudavanhu a visually impaired women.

Source: Institute for Community Development in Zimbabwe TRUST (ICODZIM)