Groups for the
disabled in Malawi are pushing for
legislation to protect them from stigmatization and discrimination. Leading
the fight is the Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA),
which brings together several such groups. Executive Director Mussa Chiwaula
says the disabled are hurt by the absence of an equal opportunity law to
protect them, "For instance, when people are putting up some buildings, they
don't follow the required standards. They just build anyhow because of there is
no law that can be enforced to ensure that the structures are user friendly,"
Chiwaula also says there are no
laws in the education system to protect disabled children, "But if there [were] a law, it means
it becomes unlawful for any educational institution to refuse [education] any
child with disability. And anybody who refuses that person [could be
prosecuted]," he says.
have pressured the Malawi government to endorse equal opportunity policies for
the disabled. They
encourage equal participation of all Malawians in all sectors of life --
including social, political, economic and cultural activities. But
Chiwaula says a policy without back-up legislation is meaningless. He says his
organization has intensified efforts for the speedy enactment of the
legislation, at least by the end of the year.