VP hands disabled winners ‘I Can’ awards

18Mar 2019
Henry Mwangonde
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
VP hands disabled winners ‘I Can’ awards

WINNERS of the inaugural I Can Awards for people with disabilities were feted in Dar es Salaam yesterday at an event officiated by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan brandishes a copy of the Braille version of IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi’s book – I can, I Must, I will – shortly after launching it at the annual luncheon the author held in Dar es Salaam yesterday for people with disabilities. Photo: Halima Kambi

The awards are an initiative of Dr Reginald Mengi Persons with Disabilities Foundation (DRMF).

The VP described the efforts as an additional step in empowering and ending discrimination against the disabled in the country.

She said the idea by Dr Mengi’s foundation to award outstanding people with disabilities for their various contributions to the society was a sign that indeed disability was not inability.

The VP said the awards will help remove feelings of inferiority among the disabled and at the same time change the society’s perception towards them that they are unable to do anything.

“Disabled people are seen as beggars, dependents and the same time denied opportunities to participate in development matters. Therefore it is high time we work on creating better environments for them, taking into consideration that we are all future disabled,” she told the gathering.

In recognising the role that the disabled play in the economy, the government has ratified various international conventions for the disabled which call for inclusiveness in various decision making levels.

The VP said the government has through the Finance Act of 2018 directed all municipal councils in the country to set aside 2-percent   of their revenues for facilitating loans to people with disabilities.

“The loans will help to remove disabled people who are in the streets begging because most of them have failed to establish ways of earning a life and end up being embarrassed in their endeavors to search for food,” she asserted.

During the event 16 people with disabilities were awarded various awards ranging from entrepreneurship, promotion of women education as well as outstanding performance in politics and other issues.

In his remarks, Dr Mengi said the only medicine and the main comfort to the disabled was showing them genuine love and nothing else.

The IPP Executive Chairman donated his book with the title ‘I can, I must, I  Will’ to various university libraries for easy access to people with disability.

The managing director of the foundation, Dr Shimimana Ntuyabaliwe requested the government to offer subsidy to PWDs groups for capacity building and other management issues because most of them are locked in leadership conflicts and misunderstandings.

The foundation launched Tanzania’s first award to recognize talents and achievements of people with disability.

The winners will receive a special award, a certificate and money in cash. Those eligible to participate were Tanzanians disabled citizens who have achieved successes which can be a taken as examples and motivation to others.

The winners of the awards dubbed ‘I Can’ involved recognizing disabled people who have done great things which can be used as examples to the society in areas like education, politics, leadership, entrepreneurship, entertainment and sports, among others. The winners walked away with 2m/- and a certificate.

The foundation was formed in recognition of Dr Mengi’s contributions towards improving the lives of disabled people in the country.

During last year’s dinner in early February, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa proposed for the establishment of a foundation to coordinate and address some of the challenges facing disabled people in the country.

He said this would be a fitting honor and appreciation to the passionate commitment by Dr Mengi in advocating for the welfare of the needy in the country.

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