Support persons with disabilities – President Lungu
President Edgar Lungu, has urged the nation to embrace persons living with disabilities saying they are human and should be shown love and support.
Addressing journalists at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) after participating in physical fitness activities organised by Special Olympics Zambia and Olympic Youth Development Center to commemorate the International Day for Sport Development and Peace the president said he is aware that some people still hide their children living with disabilities, a situation which he says should come to an end.
He emphasized that children living with disabilities must be treated as equals to those who are not living with disabilities adding that it is saddening to note that persons with disabilities are shunned in society.
The president was accompanied by cabinet ministers, his press aide, state house officers and senior government officials.
President Lungu, was also presented with a “Special Olympics” medal by a Special Olympics athlete after presenting five wheelchairs donated by Shoprite Zambia.
Some of the activities the president and his entourage participated in were Fun and movement games, 100m x 4 relay and, 100m by 4 wheel chair race.
Over 1,000 athletes with and without disabilities took part in the activities led by the president who was supported by ministers, several top government officials, representatives from UNICEF & UNESCO, CEOs from various institutions, performing arts celebrities, family members of disabled children and school head teachers.
And Special Olympics, President and Managing Director, Africa Region Charles Nyambe, disclosed that the activities which took place were meant to bring joy and happiness to children with intellectual disabilities who are usually left out in a lot of events for fear of victimization.
Nyambe, applauded the President for taking the time to interact with the children stating that his gesture will send a good signal to parents who have been hiding their children living with disabilities.
The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) which falls on the 6th April is a global commemoration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development to foster peace and understanding.
And Special Olympics Zambia Board Vice Chairman who is also OYDC Director Dr Clement Chileshe thanked Fairy Bottling, Colgate Palmolive and Shoprite for sponsoring the event. “We know there are thousands being hidden away from community activities and from the joy of interaction and physical activity. We need support from the private sector and individual well-wishers to reach more children with disabilities”, Chileshe said.
Special Olympics Zambia in partnership with OYDC engages over seven thousand children with and without intellectual disabilities in sport and health programs each year.