PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has recommended the setting up of a foundation specifically to coordinate and address some of the challenges facing people with disabilities in Tanzania.
He said that should be done as a gesture of honour and appreciation to IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi, whose passionate commitment to advocating the welfare of the needy he described as exemplary and worth emulating.
The prime minister floated the idea in Dar es Salaam yesterday as he graced an annual luncheon hosted by Dr Mengi and his wife, Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe-Mengi, for people with disabilities.
He said Dr Mengi had personally done an immense lot in supporting the cause and wellbeing of people with disabilities and other disadvantaged people and it was high time for the government and other stakeholders to complement his efforts.
The PM proposed that the foundation be known as Dr Reginald Mengi Disabled Foundation and promised to inject 10m/- into it once it became operational.
He said the name of the foundation would be a gesture of appreciation to the personal efforts by Dr Mengi and his family for giving their all the needy, “which will make him go into the record books as one of the few Tanzanians relentlessly and unwaveringly passionate with the lives of others”.
“Dr Mengi has led the way for 24 years and the government recognizes his role and his commitment to improving the welfare of people with disabilities,” noted the PM, adding: “Therefore, IPP should immediately start work on ensuring the foundation is registered so that all concerned throw their weight behind the initiative.”
The PM explained that the event is of fundamental importance not only because it saw people eat, drink and generally have a good time together but also because it offered people with disabilities and many other “an opportunity to meet and discuss the challenges facing the disabled and how to address them”.
“This is the time when various stakeholders meet and discuss the various challenges facing the stakeholders concerned for onward relaying of their grievances to the government for consideration,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr Mengi made an impassioned appeal to people with disabilities to be courageous when facing challenges, whatever the odds, saying that was the only way to overcome them.
“You need to prove to the nation and the world that you can and only by doing so will you be perceived and appreciated as people capable of doing anything you want to do to earn a living,” he said.
Ummy Nderiananga, Chairperson for the Tanzania Federation of Disabled People’s Organisations, meanwhile listed the challenges identified as still giving people with disabilities an especially hard time “despite efforts by the government to improve our livelihoods”.
She appealed for more well-wishers and good Samaritans “to embrace the IPP executive Chairman’s passion for providing for disadvantaged members of society”.
Dr Mengi, through the IPP group of companies, has been hosting the annual luncheons for people with disabilities for just short of quarter a century now.
The event was coloured by a wide array of Bongo Flava stars and other artistes including Aslay, Christian Bella, Saida Karoli and attended by thousands of people with disabilities as well as government officials.