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January 30, 2013

Mengi To People With Disability: Have Confidence in Yourselves

IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi (C) and Under The Same Sun (UTSS) Founder and CEO Peter Ash (L) present certificate of recognition to Yamungu Jackson Jacob, an economist in the Prime Minister’s Office, for his academic achievements. This was at a Business Community gala hosted by UTSS in Dar es Salaam on Monday to celebrate the progress made by UTSS grantees in the pursuit of higher education. (Photo: Tryphone Mweji)
People with disabilities have been challenged to desist from underestimating or otherwise undermining themselves and instead seek to compete for employment opportunities with other members of society.
IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi threw the challenge at a Business Community gala in dare s Salaam on Monday organised by Under The Same Sun (UTSS) to recognise the work of 43 graduates with albinism.
The graduates had benefited from UTSS Education Scholarship sponsorship, and the event was essentially meant to celebrate the UTSS grantees’ achievements in their pursuit of advanced education.
Dr Mengi said many people with disabilities, particularly those with albinism, fail to secure jobs merely owing to fear within themselves.
“God created us all to be first, but the society has marked different groups with numbers,” he said, noting that it was unfortunate that many people with disabilities often regard themselves as coming second to other members of society.
“Never carry with yourself the thinking that you are second, but instead believe in yourself that you are the champion as from now,” he said, adding that people with disabilities have the duty to have more confidence in themselves.
The IPP Executive Chairman also advised people with disabilities to be guided and inspired by the slogan: “I Can…, I Must…, I Will…,” as they look for employment opportunities.
Turning specifically to people with albinism, he said they need not take the back seats in the job market because they have all the qualifications employers are usually interested in.
UTSS founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Ash from Canada meanwhile said people with albinism face challenges in their own countries and globally that call for effective advocacy and public awareness campaigns to draw them out of discrimination.
He said he stood convinced that, following efforts initiated by both state and non-state actors, Tanzania was sure to become another place “where the dreams of people with albinism will always come true.
“Tonight we see the dream come true in fresh and blood… Our brothers and sisters have worked hard for their studies, and it is our sincere hope that these people with albinism will take positions as employers or senior officers in different sectors,” he said.
Haji Janabi, director of policy and planning in the Labour and Employment ministry, said the government would this year conduct a national census primary meant to establish the number of people with disabilities lying unemployed.
“The Labour and Employment Act of 2004 stipulates that all people need to be equally treated and get a conducive working environment…. It requires all public and private firms to ensure that 3 per cent of their total workforce comprises people with disabilities,” he added.
However, contrary to the letter and spirit of the country’s laws, it was revealed that fewer people with disabilities have secured employment at various workplaces.
In her remarks, UTSS Tanzania executive director Vicky Ntetema, reported some firms have been so understanding as to make sure that people with disabilities account for up to half their workforce. She appealed to more of organisations and institutions to follow suit by taking on board more people from disadvantaged groups so long as they had the qualifications required.
Ntetema also urged the government to enforce the relevant laws in a move meant to promote people with disabilities, adding: “There are still many bottlenecks in this regard which the Labour and Employment ministry ought to deal with, and this requires that the relevant laws and policies be enforced accordingly.”

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