People living with disabilities are calling on the government to introduce a mass campaign to ensure that they are not discriminated against, especially when demanding for services at private and government institutions.
Activist for Persons with Disability Brian Ngutjinazo said such a practice has been seen by a few parastatals that often have an issue with assisting people who have a mild mental disability, or any other disabilities.
He said the past few years have proven that people with disabilities are largely discriminated against on grounds of disregarding Article 10 of the Namibian constitution, which states that no one should be discriminated against on social and economic status.
He noted people with disabilities have been neglected greatly and as a result, the possibility of the economy being affected is evident.
“It is sad how people believe in rumours, especially in the Republic of Namibia that people deserve disabilities for the sins of their parents or the sins they have committed, but neglecting the mere fact that disability is a condition that could affect any person at any time during our time on earth,” Ngutjinazo said.
He charged some public and private institutions’ architectures are designed in a way of discriminating people with disabilities, especially from accessing their facilities.
He called on the ministry of industrialisation to investigate such laws and policies that are used by some workplaces to be amended.
Therefore, he said, the policymakers are required to reserve some funds to support people with disability instead of disempowering them economically.
“These funds could help people with disability to start SMEs, have access to agricultural projects to sustain themselves or their families.
He thanked the department of disability affairs for doing a great job thus far in terms of empowering people with disabilities to have access to education, however, the call now is to ask the ministry to avail a report of the infrastructures in Namibia where people with disabilities are affected.
Further, Ngutjinazo suggested the safety and security, as well as gender ministries, to investigate the rape cases that are occurring among the female with disability.
“It is been observed that learners or students with disability or the general populace of females with disability have children, but the fathers of such babies from mothers with a mental disability are not known. For example, how are these young women with a mental disability protected and on which ground do they consent to sexual activities,” he said.
Equally, he said public policies are greatly compromised, where senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities are neglected, and forced to queue up in shops, public institutions, or medical centres such as public clinics.
He added it is high time that the ministry becomes proactive in cases where public policies are neglected.
The quest is to further avail the reports of the National Disability Council, what were their achievements in terms of empowering persons with disability economically, socially, and politically.
“It is, however, also sad that a person with a disability gets a “joke” of a monthly grant of N$1 300. This money is meant to cater for medical care, however, people with disability are victims of discrimination in terms of employment, as a result, they don’t have enough money to sustain themselves outside the medical fees they get in terms of a grant,” Ngutjinazo reacted.
The activist also called on the ministry of education to ensure that the facilities at tertiary schools are user-friendly for persons with disabilities. The call is to ensure that there is a policy implemented, which should be compulsory to all tertiary or basic education schools to ensure that people with disability are admitted in such systems.
He suggested all tertiary schools that have failed to adopt and implement such policies must be called to order with immediate effect.
Moreover, he said these policies must be drafted as soon as possible before the 2021 academic year resumed, to ensure discriminations among people with disability are minimal and restricted.