By Mendy Mandirahwe
MEETING Tapiwa Godo is one of the refreshing experiences I have had. Giant as his posture is, one would think that Godo is one of those hard characters in life. But he proved everyone wrong.
We sit down together on a pavement overlooking the damaged environment of Ngangu high density of Chimanimani which was destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Idai in March 2019.
Mr Godo is the Chairperson for People living with Disabilities in Chimanimani and is happy with some gestures which local institutions have embarked on to the assistance of the physically challenged. He says that inclusivity is the basis of economic empowerment.
“We often see situation whereby some empowerment programs exclude the disabled. This automatically translates to stigmatisation. Inclusiveness is the basis of economical empowerment for our people and should be considered at whatever level of society.
“Our members cry that they need start up but once people see that they are disabled, they often give excuses which frustrate our constituency. Economic empowerment should be for everyone,” said Godo.
Mr Godo is happy with what Ngangu Primary School in Chimanimani has done to modify its toilets to be inclusive of people with disabilities.
“If you check most schools have toilets which are not friendly to people living with disabilities. Such toilets bring misery to learners who are disabled. There is no way which a learner sitting in a wheelchair can utilise the toilets without difficulties.
“I am happy that Ngangu Primary School has addressed this issue and we are proud of such initiatives. We urge other learning institutions to follow suit.
“This inclusivity issue should not end at learning institutions only but spread to all developers and city fathers whenever they are planning structures and recreation facilities.
“Our members need to access recreation facilities just like any other people. But if you check, there are a few of such facilities that have been developed with the disabled in mind. We also need to do sporting activities just like any other people,” he said.
Mr Godo also expressed concern on the current situation at most public offices.
“People with disabilities come to get services at council offices or at registration offices, but the most concerning issue is that the premises are not user friendly to people with disabilities.
“What we are simply saying is that, please, it’s not too late to address the anomaly. Those who are responsible for running these public premises should at least start to do something.
“We also wish if each district head office which serves the general public like registrar, council and social development could at least be inclusive of a member with disability. This can help so much in addressing the needs of people with disability,” added Mr Godo.