Youth Initiative for Community Development (Yicod) a local non-governmental organization operating in the area of Traditional Authority Kachere in Dedza district has commended government for considering people with disability to benefit from loans disbursed by National Economic Empowerment Fund (Neef)
Yicod director, Andrew Bwanali, made the remarks recently at a stakeholders meeting held in the district.
“It is very interesting that Tonse government is very flexible in terms of loan disbursement by considering every group including people with disability which accords them an opportunity play a key role both at micro and macroeconomic levels,” said Bwanali.
His remarks were in direct reference to the previous government where the tenet of the system discriminated the disabled people in such loan schemes.
Dedza Disability Forum chairperson, Hastings Chimbalanga, expressed gratification in the manner government is disbursing the funds saying that political affiliation is not part of the requirement and that this is happening for the first since the dawn of multiparty system in the country.
He reiterated the sentiment of Bwanali that the government of Dr Lazarus Chakwera has earned itself a reputation by choosing to empower people with disability.
Chimbalanga stated that in the previous regimes corruption and fraud stalked such facilities and that the beneficiaries were minions of the ruling party and not those meeting requirements.
“This can only be a by-product of political transition. They were a number of barriers that could exclude and disadvantage us (people with impairments) by not recognizing our rights, needs and potentials due to prejudice,” he said.
He went on to challenge people living with disability in T/A Kachere’s area not to be complacent and evade repayment of these loans.
He implored his team to build capacity of their businesses and earn a decent living from this intervention.
Chimbalanga, however, observed that there are still some hitches in accessing the loan, citing slowness of the process and demand for sureties. He went on to seek a review of these bottlenecks from authorities.
NEEF representative, Shida Kambalame who is a community development officer at Dedza District Council expressed satisfaction with the feedback rendered during the interface.
She said that the goal of the government is to break away from the previous perennial problems of loan disbursement.
Kachere area has three groups of people living with disability on the list awaiting to access the loan while one already received last December.
It also emerged during the meeting that most people living with disability in the area are industrious artisans in tailoring, tinsmith and carpentry. Others plying their trade at Dedza Pottery and Mua Mission are also curving internationally recognized products.