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Desperate Zimbabweans Living With Disabilities Begging for Food

Zimbabwe has two senators representing the country's disabled in parliament: Senator Nyamayabo Mashavakure, standing outside the Senate chamber.

People living with disabilities say the majority of handicapped Zimbabweans have become beggars due to lack of state support.

Simon Mvindi of the newly formed Visually Impaired Strategic Trust of Zimbabwe says at least 14,000 Zimbabweans, who used to receive $20 a month from the Department of Social Welfare, are no longer getting the cash benefits.

Mvindi, who is visually impaired, says this has forced most of them to beg for money and food.

“People living with disabilities are suffering. They move from street to street, office to office and other places looking for money. In some cases they are given a rand while the best outcome is a dollar. This is gross human rights abuse on the side of the government which is supposed to cater for our needs,” he says.

He says the majority of people stopped receiving the benefits in 2011 which were temporarily disbursed in 2013 following street protests by some of them.

“Thereafter, everything was stopped. We have tried to engage officials of the Department of Social Welfare but we are getting nowhere. This is disastrous,” says Mvindi.

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An official in the Department of Social Welfare in Kwekwe said government will look into this issue.