Malawian government passes Disabilities Bill

People with disabilities have reason to celebrate!  Members of Parliament officially passed the Disabilities Bill Thursday at a Parliamentary meeting.

 The bill seeks to increase the rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. And there are many ways the bill will makes this happen.

 Members of Parliament said in the meeting’s discussion that the bill will enforce the government to set up a trust fund for people with disabilities. This means the government will use the fund to provide financial assistance people with disabilities.

 In addition, the bill legislates that newly construstructed buildings be accessible to people with disabilities. An increase in accessible transportation is also on the government’s agenda as a result of the bill’s passing.

 The Disabilities Bill was officially drafted eight years ago. Its original draft failed to catch significant government attention. 

George Mkondiwa, Malawi’s Principal Secretary of Disability and Elderly Affairs, said at a Disabilties Bill stakeholder’s meeting last week that this is because the bill was too short sighted in its orginal form. The bill’s first draft only highlighted the demands of the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACHOA), he says. In 2009 the bill’s mandates were expanded and have since gained attention and approval from the current government.

 The bill recieved support from all parties when it was passed Thursday.

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