Kapiri DC urges the disabled to join association

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Kapiri DC urges the disabled to join association

Kapiri mposhi, March 4, ZANIS ——— Kapiri-Mposhi District Commissioner, Beatrice Sikazwe has urged people living with disabilities to come on board and join the Zambia Agency of Persons with Disabilities in order to alleviate poverty.

Speaking during a Capacity Building Workshop organised by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry held in Kapiri-Mposhi today, Mrs Sikazwe said people living with disabilities have the potential of living good and independent lives and are able to contribute appropriately to the economic development of the country.

She said the Patriotic Front government has placed disability issues high on its development agenda because it considers the disabled people as partners in national development.

She said this can be evidenced by the enactment of the People Living with Disabilities Act of 2012 which recognises the rights of persons with disabilities.

Mrs Sikazwe added that in its manifesto, the PF government has ratified the United Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and included disability issues in the Sixth National Development Plan to ensure that they are not left out when it comes to development.

She further, disclosed that government intends to establish a rehabilitation training centre in order to assist the disabled people acquire skills so that they can enter the labour markets and be self-employed.

Mrs Sikazwe also urged the disabled people to take advantage of government’s deliberate policies in improving their standards of living and contribute to the country’s economic development.

And the District Commissioner has appealed to able bodied people in the country to stop perceiving people living with disabilities as objects of pity and beggars on the streets.

She said disabled people have brains too, just like able bodied people and are very enterprising and able to lift themselves out of poverty as long as they are given the right tools and environment.

Mrs Sikazwe said she is particularly impressed with the Kapiri-Mposhi Agency of People Living With Disabilities, (KAPD) because the association has managed to sweep all the disabled people off the streets and integrated them into viable income generating activities.

The District Commissioner said she is reliably informed that the association which was formed in 2007 and registered with the Registrar of Societies in 2010, has a membership of over 200, women inclusive who are involved in various income-generating activities such as Chicken-rearing, Gardening, Tailoring, Brick-laying and other agricultural activities.

She therefore, encouraged more people living with disabilities to come on board and join the clubs, saying no one should be left out because the presence of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry is an indication that government is committed to mainstreaming issues and improving the lives of the disabled in the country.

She however, regretted that despite their commitment to upgrading their lives through various business ventures, the association has no office accommodation where they can operate from.

She appealed to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry under the industrial cluster concept to consider constructing an office for them in order to ease their operations.

The District Commissioner further thanked the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry for choosing to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the Disabled thereby, choosing to build capacity among the disabled from across the district.

She implored all disabled women in the district to take this year’s International Women’s Day Celebrations as an opportunity to resolve, determine and excel in their lives through businesses and other areas.

And Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has urged Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to unite and venture into quality and economically viable products.

ZDA representative, Nakalubwe Chansa said ZDA will not support products that are of low quality because there is stiff competition on the foreign market.

Mrs Chansa observed that lack of trust, unity, selfishness and sub-standard products are some of the main factors that hinder SMEs from growing into large scale businesses.

She noted that there is too much resistance from local cooperatives and the business community to aggregate and solicit for a viable business venture due to lack of trust, selfishness and insufficient resources.

She added that lack of business acumen has also affected the growth of local businesses because people are too relaxed to approach large business operators and identify viable and fast-selling products on the market.

Mrs Chansa said unity, quality products, authenticity, proper quantities and a good working capital are the tenets of a viable business and assured the SMEs that once these things are in place, her company will not hesitate to recommend the SMEs to large businesses.

Mrs Chansa however, emphasized on the need for cooperatives to engage in profit-generating businesses and improve on the quality and quantity of their products saying large companies prefer to work with consistent people with enough supplies.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Representative, Evelyn Soko said she is happy with the overwhelming response that KAPD has exhibited and expressed optimism that the association will go a long way in upgrading their lives.

She said the workshop was intended at soliciting ways in which the ministry can help SMEs to grow their businesses and ensure quality in their businesses.

Mrs Soko said it is her ministry’s desire to ensure SMEs are given the necessary information needed to grow their businesses into large scale businesses and improve their livelihood.

She said the Ministry has a Medium, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Policy which recognises associations such as KAPD in improving their businesses.

She added that she is happy that all the targeted clubs in the district had representation at the workshop.