“Nothing for us without us” Disability activist Junnet Banda reminds policy makers

By Ruvimbo Ngwetedza

THE FOUNDER of Yamuranai Association for Persons with Disabilities Junnet Banda reminded policy makers that they should always involve people with disabilities on developmental issues as well as in community based programs while she urged people with disabilities to embrace government’s efforts to create a disability friendly environment through the recently launched Disability Bill.

“There is nothing for us without us, policy makers accommodate the disability cluster on every developmental programme do not leave us behind we have a lot to contribute and educate our communities Ubuntu Hunhu so that they stop calling our children all sorts of names.

“At the same time we are hoping for a great change since the President His Excellency Emmerson Munangagwa has launched the National Disability Bill, to us it is a progressive development that was overdue so we are urging fellow Zimbabweans with disabilities to embrace it for a resilience society of persons with disabilities.”

Growing up with a passion to support the less privileged, the mother of three including a girl who was born in 2012 on June 30 with a disability of cerebral pulse started a support group in 2015 which later grew into a private voluntary organization which is currently serving 300 people in Epworth, with the aim of improving the lives of persons with disabilities through equipping them so that they become self-reliant and she became a disability rights activist who is now well versed with challenges affecting this constituency.

“As an Organization we are facing a lot of challenges within our communities, policy makers took so long to address issues affecting us from healthy sector to infrastructural development.

“We are pleading with the government to build more affordable special schools to carter children with disabilities,” Banda said.

Up to date Yamuranai Association for Persons with Disabilities has done a number of initiatives in line with its aims and objectives. “We have done a lot especially in these trying times were the pandemic is limiting our operations, one of our goals is to provide psycho social support to persons with disabilities and we managed to hire professionals including Doctor Choga for counselling sessions.

“Since most of our beneficiaries live on begging and vending they were affected by the lockdown restrictions that most of them could not afford to bring food on the table and we sourced food ten consecutive months for them.

“By so doing we were recognized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare as one of the best organisations contributing to the country’s SDG attainment,” explained Banda.

The organization was last year November awarded a certificate of excellence by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare accompanied by food hampers courtesy of National Foods to distribute to people with disabilities.

The 38-year-old Junnet Banda passes a message of hope and encouragement to parents of children with disabilities. “You are so special that is the reason God gave you a child who needs special care, do not put them in hiding because of their status but love them you are their voice and focus more on the abilities than the disability side.”

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