One of the English dailies in Namibia carried Thursday the story about a 23-year-old man living with disability who says he cannot get a job because of his condition.
Manuel Crespo, the daily said, stays in one of Windhoek’s sprawling informal settlements where there are no facilities for people living with disabilities.
His shack made of corrugated iron has no air-conditioning and Crespo has to crawl along the settlement’s dirty paths on the way to the makeshift communal toilet.
He and his pregnant wife survive on the government grant of 1,100 Namibian dollars (78 U.S dollars) per month.
Crespo’s situation largely described the lives of people living with disabilities in Namibia today where, according to the Disability Report released in June this year by the National Statistics Agency, now number more than 98,000.
The report was based on the 2011 census that also put Namibia’s population at 2.1 million.
The number of Namibians living with disabilities, noted the report, has increased from 42, 932 in 1991 to 85,567 in 2001 and 98,413 in 2011.
Of the more than 98, 000, according to the agency, 51,125 are female, while 18, 090 had physical impairment and 16, 189 had visual impairment.
Regarding marital status of the people living with disabilities the report says 47 percent of the population aged between 15 years and above were never married.
According to the report, the proportion of persons with disabilities who were in a consensual union increased from 6.2 percent in 2001 to 10.3 percent in 2011.
Although Namibia is one of very few countries in the region that gives grants to people living with disabilities, there is still a lot to be done in education, counseling, vocational training and health services.
A UNAIDS Gap 2014 report showed 72.9 percent of people living with disabilities access health services when the target is 90.5 percent.
The report also said 15.2 percent are counseled as compared to a target of 64.6 percent, while 58.1 percent should have access to education yet 27.4 percent do.
There are 5.2 percent people living with disabilities who access vocational training yet 47.3 percent should be.
In 2012, Namibia launched the national agenda for children as commitment to the rights of those living with disabilities.
The agenda developed by the gender ministry with Unicef’s support puts special emphasis on the need for programs supporting children with disabilities and ensuring they benefit from disability grants.
In August this year, deputy minister in the Vice President’s Office responsible for people with disabilities Alexia Manombe-Ncube said the situation in general is not easy for all the people as there are no jobs available regardless if a applicant is disabled or not.
She however added that the government encourages the private sector and NGOs to employ people with disabilities. Enditem