ABOUT 90 people including the deaf in Kitwe yesterday received empowerment funds for various small businesses under the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund.
Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe dished out a total of K53,000 to 30 members of the Zambia Deaf Women and Youths, Buyantashi Women of Vision of Chamboli township, Tuchinchile Women Group and some marketeers from Chisokone market.
Speaking before giving out the money, Mr Kabwe said the Government of President Edgar Lungu had decided to empower the deaf as a way of recognizing them as members of the community who were capable of contributing to society.
Mr Kabwe said for a long a time the deaf have been marginalized and were not perceived as people who could make any meaningful contribution to society, but President Lungu had decided to empower them in a small way.
“For the first time, this Government of President Lungu has recognized the deaf by giving them some money which they would use to help improve their lives. It is not a lot of money, but it is something to make some difference in their lives. Every long journey starts with a single step.
“What we are giving you is not a lot of money, but a little to help you boost any form of entrepreneurship which you may be doing. President Lungu wants to share even the little which he has. He has the heart for the poor and the vulnerable people in society, unlike some of the people who claim to be rich but can’t share their money with anybody,” Mr Kabwe said.
Speaking later, Evans Ngandwe who was representing the deaf, praised the PF government and President Lungu for recognizing the deaf and empowering them with some funds which each one of them would use to engage in some form of business.
“From the time of independence, no one recognized the deaf, but the government of President Lungu has recognized the deaf as people who can contribute to society. We are grateful for this gesture,” Mr Ngandwe said.
At the same occasion, Buyantashi Women of Vision of Chamboli were given K5,000 to boost their entrepreneurial activities and letter of offer for a piece of land for agricultural purposes.
Mr Kabwe said Government had decided to empower the Buyantanshi Women of Vision with money and land because they had shown that they were innovative and creative in their efforts to become self-sustaining as a women association which has more than 20 members.
The Women of Vision are involved in rearing chicken and making door mats and other products using one sewing machine.