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First Lady Esther Lungu empowers Luanshya’s DAGAMA School

First Lady Esther Lungu empowers Luanshya’s DAGAMA School

March 21
16:28 2018

By Derrick Sinjela

FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has appreciated the hospitality bestowed on her by the people of the Luanshya and groups who witnessed a philanthropic gestures rendered through the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust.

The Copperbelt, Luanshya District Administration team, the University of Zambia, Ministry of Education provincial administration and district officials, Patriotic Front Party saw Esther Lungu Foundation Trust  empower Dagama School for Physically Challenged Children.

First Lady Esther Lungu alluded to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) 2011 first World Report on Disabilities statistic showing that one billion people in the world are living with some form of disability, of whom nearly 200 million experience considerable difficulties in functioning.

“First Lady Esther showered praise on a cross section of interest groups and families for the great work and love done in caring for children with special needs. The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that there are 150 million children with disabilities in the developing world, 80% of them live in rural communities. It is well known that disability and poverty are strongly linked. When children do not get enough to eat, it affects them both physically and cognitively. The babies of mothers who suffer from poor nutrition are at risk of physical and mental disabilities, recollected First Lady Esther Lungu.

The Zambian First Lady explained that the WHO World Report on Disabilities reveals that disability will be an even greater concern as its prevalence is on the rise.

Citing world statistics, First Lady Esther Lungu observed that  people with disabilities have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

“This is partly because people with disabilities experience barriers in accessing services that many of us have long taken for granted, including health, education and employment. These difficulties are worse in less advantaged communities and especially children who are less likely to attend school, access medical services, or have their voices heard in society. Their disabilities also place them at a higher risk of physical abuse, and often exclude them from receiving proper nutrition or humanitarian assistance in emergencies. Children with special needs have been set apart and excluded by parents, relatives and indeed the communities,” noted First Lady Lungu.

First Lady Esther Lungu restated that Government has made huge milestones in Zambia by introducing policies and laws removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity through the 2012 Persons with Disabilities Act.

“This milestone is a great service to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country because it guarantees them of a brighter future. This Act will ensure that there is a place for Persons with Disabilities in our country, that Persons with Disabilities count and have a lot to contribute to our national development agenda,” noted First Lady Esther Lungu.

The Zambian First Lady urged all of us stakeholders involved in the upliftment of Persons with Disabilities to accelerate the removal of the barriers which prevent Persons with Disabilities to participate in their communities and the nation at large.

“Let our strategies empower people living with disabilities especially the children to get quality education. Initiatives must be made for citizens with disabilities, to give them the opportunity to be productive and to contribute to their communities. All stakeholders must communicate, let us come up with new ideas and services; let us be more committed to children with special needs; let us make more choices available to parents; and let us push for more funding so that our national reforms for Persons with Disabilities are fulfilled so that our commitments as a nation are achieved,” prodded First Lady Esther Lungu.

First Lady Esther Lungu insisted that very child is beautiful in the eyes of God, and dear to Him for their own sake, thus the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable.

“Every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. That is why I salute all stakeholders including Dagama School for Physically Challenged Children for your resilience, your commitment, your compassion and love to these children, your work is truly noble. Let me also commend the Roman Catholic Church for being a pioneer in the work of taking special care of Children with Special Needs through your many institutions countrywide,” said First Lady Esther Lungu.

Turning to parents with Children with Special Needs, First Lady Esther Lungu advised them to exhibit courage, pledging to do all she can to advocating for more choices toward increased  quality primary education for every child with special needs as early education makes a sustainable difference.

“I believe that early intervention will empower our children to live a life of independence as they grow. No barriers of bureaucracy should stand in the way of serving children with special needs. The Ministry of Education, must view Special Education as a matter of priority by ensuring training and recruitment of specialized training for teachers, flexible curriculum, specialized teaching aids and more individual attention, and the doors of opportunity should be open for all Children with Special Needs because these children deserve better education,” advised First Lady Esther Lungu.

As a mother of the nation, First Lady Esther Lungu, does not want to hear any school hindering the progress of special-needs students’ as their lives, futures, and happiness are at stake, must be guaranteed.

Quoting, Dr. Steven Hawking, who died last week, First Lady Esther Lungu acknowledged that the Theoretical Physicist defied his dilapidating disability of muscle erosion.

“In fact we have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities. Governments throughout the world can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education and employment, and never get the chance to shine,” said First Lady Esther Lungu, as she restated  Esther Lungu Foundation Trust commitment toward holistic welfare of Persons with Disabilites.

“I implore the private sector to pioneer technological interventions in our country for Persons with Disabilities, let academia do its part in research and implementation of best practice and let the nation at large espouse the value of loving thy neighbour as oneself,” said First Lady Esther Lungu.

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