Disability is a mental or physical condition that limits a person’s movements, activities or sense. This is a continuing condition that restricts everyday activities.
The Disability Service Act (1993) defines disability as a permanent or likely to be permanent condition or a condition which results in substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, social interaction, learning or mobility and a need for continuing support service.
Types of disability
Physical disability– the common type of disability that relates to disorders of the circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. It is a condition that can be seen clearly and one can be able to say that this is a disabled person.
Sensory disability– this is a condition which involves damage in hearing and vision. One can be pointed out as a sensory disabled person if he or she is having problems in hearing.
Intellectual disability– people with this type of disability have problems in intellectual and developmental disability which relate to difficulties with learning, thought processes, communicating, remembering information and using it appropriately, making judgement and problem solving.
Is disability inability?
No! Every human being has to realise that people with disabilities have all the right as normal people have. The rights under human rights treaties apply to everyone, including the disabled ones.
Disabled people have all the rights like right to life, right to get best education, right to vote, right to express their views and opinions, right to be protected, etc. All these rights must apply to every human being either normal or disabled.
Challenges disabled people face
Discrimination happens to be the most popular challenge to people with disabilities. This is because these people are denied their right which restricts them in participating in development projects in their societies, to access justice, to participate in cultural activities, enjoy social protection and to choose medical treatment. But why them? Should we say disability is not inability to participate and have a say in any activities in their societies?
People with disabilities are always accused of witchcraft in most of the cases which is a big and worrisome challenge to them.
Is the Government of Malawi helping these disabled people?
In Malawi, disabled people are among the poorest of the poor. Statistics indicate that many of them probably live on less than a dollar a day.
The fact is people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised people in Malawi excluded from the enjoyment of their rights despite the constitution guaranteeing human rights to all people without discrimination.
However, an established organisation FEDOMA in Malawi is there to enhance the welfare of all persons with disabilities and enable them to assume their rightful role in society.
Their objectives are to support and encourage the formation of persons with disabilities organizations in Malawi and to strengthen the existing ones and to promote and coordinate development efforts and self-help projects among persons with disabilities and their organizations.
People with disabilities in Malawi are traditionally viewed as charity object of which is not like that. People need to understand that disability is not inability!