A collaborative effort between Family AIDS Caring Trust Zimbabwe and its partners under the SPACE for OVC program has led to comprehensive assessments of children with disabilities in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces and subsequent provision of assistive devices. This groundbreaking initiative seeks to include and empower children with disabilities by equipping them with the tools they need to navigate the world with increased independence and confidence.

Through the generous support from the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID Zimbabwe), FACT Zimbabwe through its technical partner Christian Blind Mission and joint efforts of a team of experts specializing in paediatric disabilities handed over assistive devices to children with disabilities from Mutare district. A total of 87 children from Mutare, Chipinge, Makoni Buhera, Chivi, Chiredzi, and Gutu districts received assistive technology aimed at improving the quality of life for children with disabilities.

Following the assessments encompassed a wide range of disabilities, including but not limited to physical impairments, sensory, and cognitive impairments, a comprehensive plan was developed for each child, considering their specific requirements, preferences, and goals. The plan included recommendations for assistive devices that could enhance their mobility, communication, independence, and overall well-being. These devices range from wheelchairs, orthotic aids, and communication devices to sensory aids like hearing aids and spectacles.

The assistive devices will enable these children to participate fully in daily activities, communicate effectively with their peers and caregivers, and access educational opportunities tailored to their needs. Ultimately, this will foster their personal growth and development, promoting inclusivity and a sense of belonging within the community.

Speaking during the handover ceremony held in Mutare district, FACT Zimbabwe Board Chairman Mr Washington Kuwana said the assistive devices will bring change in the lives of children with disabilities.

“We are here to witness real change in the lives of real people’s lives. To the children and caregivers here, we celebrate together this new chapter in your lives, and we will continue to support you in your journey to healthy lives and healthy communities.”

FACT Zimbabwe SPACE for OVC Chief of Party Tinashe Chimbidzikai said: “We realised that children with disabilities were being left out in our programming hence we engaged CBM to be our technical partner in addressing disability inclusion in our programming. We are grateful to have walked this journey with CBM. We appreciate the technical support they have given thus far, and we will continue building on this great work, making sure no one is left behind.”

The distribution events also served as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of inclusivity and the rights of children with disabilities.

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