Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

BOTSWANA: BOFOD, BNYC meet over national youth bill

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13 April, 2016

On 13 April 2015, the Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) held a consultative forum with the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) and other key stakeholders in Gaborone to input into the National Youth Bill. The meeting also aimed at engaging youth living with disabilities in the review process of the action plan and the draft policy for care of people living with disabilities.

Speaking at the consultative forum in Gaborone, BOFOD youth chairman, Mr Obopilwe Mosimane said the forum aimed at consultative measure regarding policy and youth plan on care of people living with disabilities.

Mr Mosimane said government had recognised youth with disability in the 1970’s and by then ministries such as ministry of youth were not established. He indicated that a policy was under review in Parliament which looked into the need to engage youth living with disabilities.

“We are at a stage where it needs to be revised and approved by the government which is a process itself. It is not easy to review the policy, it is difficult as different stakeholders are involved in the process,” he added.

He indicated that they would not be discouraged by the delay in the policy to be approved as they knew that some new developments regarding people living with disabilities delayed the process.

For his part, Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) chairman, Mr Louis Simba also updated the meeting on National youth bill tabled before Parliament.

Mr Sibanda indicated that the bill which was not yet approved and amended sought to create a fund to capitalise on the projects that would cost over P100 000 to implement.

The policy, he added also allowed the youth to get mentoring and education for free in relation to their businesses for a period of one year. He also said businesses that would be funded were those in the agricultural sector, information technology and service industry.

However, Mr Simba expressed concern about the disabled youth who did not make a point of relieving themselves from poverty without government intervention.

He said the disabled youth should stand up and stop being unapologetic for their rights.

Mr Simba stated that there was no physically disabled youth representative in Parliament, saying that showed their lack of involvement in politics.

He highlighted that disability was nothing unusual or special.

He further said disabled youth should not just sit and think that government would provide everything for them, thus encouraged them to start their own business to sustain themselves and their families.

“Don’t sit there and think you will receive allowance. Run your business and don’t just wait for small allowance,” he said.

For her part, BOFOD coordinator, Ms Shirley Keoagile also encouraged the youth to come up with some initiatives that would enrich their lives, stating that government alone cannot sustain everyone.

She also encouraged disabled youth to collaborate and start making businesses for themselves. “Stop staying home and start doing your selves businesses and not depend on government,” she said.

By: Karabo Ntane, BOPA News