Zambia (Chadiza): The Chadiza District Network for Persons Living with Disabilities in Eastern Province has called on parents with physically challenged children to open up about their conditions.
Banda said such actions hinder the affected children from accessing basic services such as education and health care.
“We need mindset change from both the parents and communities so that we save the lives of these children. Above all, when children are hidden in that manner, it is an infringement of their rights,” he said.
Banda said such actions are rampant in Chadiza and are contributing to high illiteracy levels among children with special needs.
He, however, said that with the coming on board of Institutions like Zambia Association of Parents for Children with Disabilities (ZAPCD) and Onse Anna Aphunzile, many parents are becoming aware of the need to expose their children and seek places for them to be in school.
Banda added that there is a need to promote equity in upholding human rights regardless of social status in order to allow inclusive participation and dignity for persons with disabilities.
“At least 100 children with disabilities were taken to school under early Childhood Education through the help of ZAPCD, and we are happy that more people will benefit,” he said.
However, he expressed sadness that some schools are not accommodating to the needs of children with special needs, including toilets and classrooms with stairs, among other things.
“So far, only three schools are being utilised as they are more receptive to the children with special needs. Community members are also helping with the basics needed for infrastructure improvement at Chilenga, Sadzu and Kavumo Primary schools, where they are putting up ramps and maintaining classrooms that the children are learning from,” he explained.
Since then, Mr Banda has called on authorities to ensure that provisions are made for children with special needs when building schools.
“Now that we have free education, thanks to the government, our children should not be left out of this great opportunity as we want to see a more educated group of people living with disabilities,” he stated.