Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) has established a District Disability Forum in Mangochi which aims at being inclusive in achieving full recognition of persons with disabilities.
The formation of the district forum took place at St. Augustine 3 Primary School in Mangochi on Friday which later saw the appointment of office bearers comprising Jawadu London as Chairperson, Amin Afiki as Vice Chairperson and Lexa Zacharia as Secretary.
London and Zacharia also hold senior positions in the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) Mangochi district chapter, among other organizations, while Afiki represents persons with disabilities at the district council.
In his acceptance speech, London who is also Chairperson for Action for Visually Impaired Support Organization and Malawi Union for the Blind in Mangochi hailed the establishment of the forum, describing it as long overdue.
“The forum will encourage persons with disabilities to stop looking down upon themselves and begin to actively take part in community development work,” said London.
“The forum will further enhance our engagement with various partners at district level and we hope to be included in various programs through the influence of the forum,” added London.
FEDOMA Executive Director, Action Amos said it was ideal to come up with the forum because there was no unified voice of persons with disabilities at district level especially in Mangochi.
Amos said FEDOMA was there to promote unity among all persons with disabilities and that the established structure would be used as an entry point in addressing various issues affecting persons with disabilities in the district.
“Although we have representation at council level, we still have challenges when it comes to recognition of persons with disabilities such that the forum is the most effective way for engaging the membership on issues that concern their welfare,” said Amos.
Amos said there were a number of issues that FEDOMA had reservations with regard to implementation of particular provisions as stipulated by law, citing the National Coordinating Committee on Disability Issues and Disability Trust Fund which were yet to be established.
“When we were starting the year, government was supposed to train about 170 sign language interpreters to be posted to all districts across the country but this has not been realized and in turn, it has made the lives of people with disabilities miserable,” Amos decried.