Reviewing the models of disability within the frameworks for the empowerment of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe
Keywords:Models of disability, Empowerment, People with disabilities
The paper reviews the context of empowerment of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe. A critical situational analysis reveals that, despite the existence of reasonably disability legislative frameworks, people with disabilities are still looked down upon and often marginalized particularly when it comes to employment. Unemployment and under-employment of people with disabilities is positively correlated with lack of adequate education and training. One reason for the status quo is that legislative frameworks such as the Education Act (1987), the Disabled Persons Act (1992), the Indeginisation and Empowerment Act (2007) and the new Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) itself are too generalized.The paper argues that some of the prejudices that are reflected through the exigencies and barriers to empowerment people with disabilities have to go through are a result of the use of disempowering models such as the medical, expert, rehabilitation and the moral models. These models have shaped the negative ways in which people with disabilities are viewed in Zimbabwe. The government has taken positive steps towards the establishment of inclusive education but lack of resources has clouded these efforts and hampered the realization of full socio-economic and political participation of people with disabilities. For that matter, education and training are identified in this paper as the most basic tools for empowering the marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Based on the foregoing arguments, the paper concludes that people with disabilities in Zimbabwe have generally not been empowered due to either lack of clarity of policies, lack of resources, lack of political will or mere ignorance about disability. The paper also notes lack of current disability activism in Zimbabwe as another major impediment to empowerment. On these bases, the paper recommends an all-inclusive framework of empowerment of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe, collaboration in policy design, rephrasing of current legislative frameworks to make them clearer on aspects of disability, disability awareness for all citizens including policy makers and civil servants and more deliberate promotion of equal opportunities in education and training, employment, land redistribution and financing of business development.
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