Disabled to Benefit from Shop Project

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK In view of the fact that most people living with disabilities are dependant on others for survival, a movement catering for the disabled has started a project aimed at making this particular group of people more self-reliant. Though the project is still in its infancy, the movement has appealed to Namibian business people to make financial or in-kind contributions to the project. The movement needs N$800 000, but so far it has only managed to raise half of the total money needed, management team member of the Coffee Shop Project Van der Woude confirmed. The acting Secretary General of the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) Mikea Matheus says in a society such as Namibia, people with disabilities are confronted by two harsh realities. Apart from facing the disability for the rest of their lives, society turns its back on them including their exclusion and denial of constitutional rights. This situation has left this group of people with little option but to stay at home and become dependants on other family mem- bers. According to Matheus, “People with disabilities would much rather work than beg. The disability movement plans to open a coffee shop where people with disabilities can work.” The coffee shop, which will be located in the central business district, will ensure that people with disabilities generate their own income, and in the process increase their self-esteem and self-reliance. Profits from the shop would be channelled towards awareness raising campaigns, educating people with disabilities and creating job opportunities. The people who will run the coffee shop will be given the necessary skills training such as hospitality, business management and financial management. This would create more opportunities for these people to be employed in a ‘mainstream’ job. In the long run, it is envisaged that the shop provides an outlet for people with disabilities to sell crafts. The project is still in its infancy stage, and the movement reminds society that disability does not mean inability as such, and that society must learn to accept these people and look at them as potential contributors to the economic growth of the Namibian nation. At present, people living with disabilities represent four percent of the Namibian population.