First Lady Esther Lungu says she will continue to implement programs and fight to change the narrative of the disability agenda to one that makes Africa proud.
Mrs. Lungu said she will not relent in advocating for persons with disabilities so that people begin to perceive persons with disability as any other humans who have the potential to contribute greatly to the communities.
She said people especially children with disabilities needs to be exposed to the services available so that they can be guaranteed a meaningful future because they can’t act on their own.
The First Lady was speaking when she addressed over 500 delegates from over 30 countries who are attending the sixth Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) African Network Conference at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
Mrs. Lungu implored delegates from various organisations to review the existing livelihood initiatives in their respective countries to ensure that they work to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
She noted that all delegates and organisations represented at the conference have a duty to ensure that persons with disabilities are involved in the implementation of livelihood and empowerment initiatives meant to improve their quality of life.
The first lady further stated that the participants should ensure that they come up with ways of building capacity for everyone to handle disability issues as they deliberate at the conference.
And UNICEF Zambia Deputy Representative Shadrack Omol said children with disabilities are more than capable of overcoming barriers to their inclusion and take their rightful place as equal participants in society.
He said people should begin to make persons with disabilities count in society and change the attitude towards them.
The UNICEF Deputy Representative noted that little will change in the lives of children with disabilities if attitudes among communities, professionals, media and governments does not change.
Mr. Omol affirmed that there is need to offer support and protection to children with disabilities and their families as prescribed by the convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
Many presentations were done yesterday including one from the Zambian Minister of Community Development and Social Services before the first lady spoke.
The conference which was officially open by President Edgar Lungu yesterday, has been running from Monday and is expected to close today Friday, May 11, 2018.