Tanzanians have been urged to stop stigmatising people with disabilities since they are human beings and can perform most activities done by others.
This was said in Dar es Salaam recently by Economic and Empowerment officer of Italian NGO Cefa Tanzania, Chacha Masero, when explaining challenges facing people with disabilities and how they can utilise available opportunities.
He said despite various campaigns, society still stigmatised people with disabilities in various ways and denied them education and employment opportunities and development.
According to him, most of them are denied access to education and job opportunities in private and public companies.
“Poverty is a major challenge facing people with disabilities. This is due to lack of education and income generating activities,” he noted.
He said the society thought people with disabilities could not do anything, were cursed, ignorant or they did not deserve the best.
In a move aimed at educating the society about the role people with disabilities play, the organisation has been conducting public awareness campaigns in various areas.
He said in partnership with CCBRT and other partners they had managed to sensitise some companies that recruited them.
He commended local companies, which had recognised and started recruiting people with disabilities
It is not easy to establish the total number of people with disabilities employed in the country but it is estimated that there are 3.3 million of them.
Masero said people with disabilities made up a large proportion of the population and employing someone with a disability added value to a business because they had a unique appreciation of their job, were very committed and willing to work hard in order to succeed.
The organisation through its vocational training centre has been running various courses, which target people with disabilities.
They fall under a category of vulnerable groups, which includes people with disabilities, orphans and people living with HIV/Aids based in Dar es Salaam.
Over 140 students have completed various courses in cookery and house keeping, bakery, carpentry, construction, jewellery and embroidery.
“We provide all services namely daily transport, meals, training materials, uniforms and assistive devices for free,” he said.
After completing studies they dispatch them to various hotels, offices and business companies to get experience.
According to him for those who cannot be hired they plan for them self employment and are also conducting a number of income generating activities to be self-employed.