Many efforts are made in Namibia that aim to empower people with disabilities, but the majority of these citizens that make up approximately five per cent of the population, remain marginalised. The lack of formal education fuels the challenges that hamper persons with disabilities from improving their quality of life, and therefore the NDCN and NUST signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 to provide capacity-building initiatives to people with disabilities and equip them with the necessary skills to run successful businesses and make meaningful contributions towards the local economy.
The Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President, Alexia Manobe-Ncube, said during the ceremony that she had to endure all forms of ridicule, verbal abuse and stigmatisation as a person with disabilities. “The Apartheid system made life seem unbearable, but here I am today. In all these circumstances, I never lost focus and I did not despair,” she said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Tjama Tjivikua, said the International Day for Persons with Disabilities was commemorated on 3 December under the theme “Inclusive matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities,” while the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encourage inclusivity in various sectors such as education and economic growth.
“These developments again emphasise the determination of the world to create an inclusive future. I have no doubt that the 16 graduates produced through this programme are but a small contribution that we make towards the SDGs. However, we need to galvanise our energies and intensify our efforts in this regard,” Tjivikua said.
The courses addressed key topics such as leadership ethics, computer skills and marketing management. Julia Brown, one of the graduates, encouraged her classmates to put their skills to good use and not to let their new qualifications go to waste.