There is a need to capacitate local companies to be able to manufacture wheelchairs and make them easily accessible to people with disability (PWDs) who may require them.
This was said by the Deputy Director of youth, sport, art, and recreation for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Isaiah Mpofu during the launch of the Debonair Wheel Distribution in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
The initiative is the brainchild of Tsepang Nare and partners.
“Some of these devices are easy to make only when you have been trained and my main emphasis is on letting us train local people so that we can buy them whenever we need these devices. We wouldn’t like a situation when they break down, we want to take them to Harare, to South Africa so that they are repaired, we need to repair them locally,” said Mpofu.
“We would like to call upon various stakeholders here in Bulawayo and the country at large, lets come together so that we create an environment for persons living with disability, in terms of their mobility, in terms of getting them empowerment programs.”
Speaking during the launch where seven beneficiaries received wheelchairs and 10kg bags of mealie meal, Nare said PWDs need to be incorporated in development issues.
“Which is why the campaign was started with a particular focus on school-going children with the hope to try and secure their future because where it begins to matter the most,” said Nare.
Mpofu added that public infrastructure has to be upgraded to cater for PWDs.
“The infrastructure is there but what needs to be done is let’s modernize it so that it becomes a conducive learning area, an area where when you visit you can develop yourself, we need modern equipment at Jairos Jiri, at Luveve, so that when they are there, they can manufacture, construct some of these assisting devices which at times we fail to have them because we have not given those skill,” he said.
“We will need people who can repair wheelchairs, make wheelchairs, using our local resources, but that alone can only happen when the people have been trained, skilled and this can only happen when we stakeholders and government come together and realize this important function that we need to give support and skills so that we can have our people who can manufacture wheelchairs.”