The Herald, December 3, 2000
A CHEGUTU farm worker has denied his two deaf and dumb children the chance to be educated after he rejected financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare.
The father who works at Lamboni Farm, told the local social welfare district office to leave his children in “peace”, arguing that the circumstances surrounding their disability were private and had something to do with witchcraft.
The plight of the children was highlighted in a report presented by the district office at a three-day provincial consultative workshop organised by the farm community Trust in Karoi.
The Workshop focused on children with special needs.
The two children aged 13 and 15 have never been to school and their plight surfaced during an enumeration survey of orphans and other children in difficult circumstances carried out by the Department of Social Welfare last year.
Children with similar handicaps and are exposed to early interventions at rehabilitation institutions normally have their disabilities reduced and can be fully integrated into the mainstream society.
A police officer attending the workshop, Inspector Charles Mutabvuka, advised service institutions catering for children with special needs to refer such child abuse cases to the police who could assist such children through enforcement of the Child Protection and Adoption Act.
“It is an offence under this Act to deny children health care and education and other children’s rights.
“The Act empowers police to intervene and prosecute such parents,” Insp Mutabvuka said.
He said Police in Makonde had evoked the same Act in 1997/98 when members of the Apostolic Faith Sect in Zumbara refused to have their children immunised and most of the parents and sect leaders were dragged before the courts.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Parents who are raising or caring for a child with disabilities need the support of trusted friends and family so that they are comfortable to have their children around other people.
Support should be offered within the context of the family and the community in which they live, rather than to the child in isolation.
Disability and its causes are perceived very differently among different socio-economic, ethnic, racial and organisational groups. Perceptions can put stress on the whole family or a particular member.
Societies should be educated on child disability, so that they can help affected families to handle the situations.
Religious groups also need to be incorporated in the drive to embrace disabled children as well as help their parents to cope.
The post Father denies deaf children chance to get an education appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.