Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) joins the international community in commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day that appreciates the sameness of the human nature and the struggles that people go through in their day-to-day lives.
This year`s theme: “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”, draws attention to advocacy work, spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others. SAYWHAT calls upon everyone to reflect and start focusing on a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world for persons with disabilities.
Around 52% of the disabled children in Zimbabwe have no access to education, however, for students with disabilities in tertiary institutions, SAYWHAT continues to advocate for their access to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services just like their fellow colleagues.
SAYWHAT believes that raising assertiveness on disability issues would make societies accept and assist persons with disabilities by treating them just as they are, thus having inclusivity in accessing services.
SAYWHAT realises that access to information and services, disclosure, documentation and research is vital in ensuring that students with disabilities make relevant and informed decisions on their SRH by having access to information which is in forms that are accessible.
SAYWHAT applauds the government of Zimbabwe on the commitments made to advance the rights of persons with disabilities. This includes, but not limited to the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Furthermore the government signed and ratified (September 2013) the optional protocol, the first international, legally binding treaty aimed at protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has its own turmoil’s, with isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines and diminished services having a great impact on the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities. In this regard, SAYWHAT calls government, civil society, college authorities and everyone to continue ensuring the provision of utilities that are friendly to persons with disabilities. Above all, let’s continue to show love and offer support towards persons with disabilities. Together, we can do better. Disability does not mean inability.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES!