20061215 The Forgotten Tribe: People with Disabilities in Zimbabwe

20061215 The Forgotten Tribe: People with Disabilities in Zimbabwe (Progressio)

For close to 10 years Progressio has been working with disability service organisations in order to participate in the global and national effort to improve the rights and livelihoods of people with disabilities. Progressio partner organisations in Zimbabwe have included the Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association (ZPHCA), Batsirai and Jairos Jiri Association (JJA). During this period the national development agenda has shifted towards tackling HIV and AIDS. Many international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have turned their attention to the provision of services in the HIV and AIDS sector, while the fast declining national economy also left the government with no option but to redirect funding where it was most required.
While this shift was greatly needed, it left many other social ills unattended to. Among these, the disability
sector was greatly overlooked and it became almost nonexistent. Evidence of this can be found in the lack of
information about disabilities in Zimbabwe, the outdated disability policies that are in place, the underfunded and largely invisible national body of people with disabilities, the dysfunctional and fragmented disability sector, and the failure to address the growing needs of people with disabilities.