Disability in Zimbabwe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Disability affects many people living in Zimbabwe. Disabled people are one of the most marginalised, excluded and poorest groups in Zimbabwean society.[1] People with disabilities in Zimbabwe are treated as second-class citizens.[2](p2) It is estimated about 900 000–1.4 million people have some sort of disability in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).


It is estimated that disability in Zimbabwe is 7% out of the total population which prevails in Zimbabwe. Disability exists in Zimbabwe mainly due to diseases,war conflicts,malnutrition,accidents,abnormal births,hereditary characteristics etc.[3]

A large population of individuals with disabilities are children and young people. About 53% of people living with disability population in Zimbabwe became disabled before the age of 20 years. Around 27% of disability with population from the birth while 9% disability exists between the ages limit of 1–5.

The disability population of males is estimated approximately about 56% while the disability population of women is around 44% as of 2013.

About 600 000 children live with disabilities in Zimbabwe according to the Department of International Development Zimbabwe as of 2013.[4][5]


Shepherd and his bird in Zimbabwe

Around 52% of the disabled children in Zimbabwe have no access to education although Zimbabwe having a record of 93% literacy rate among its school-going children, which is also the best in the African continent. On the other hand,it was evident that about 34% of disabled women didn't attend the school while 22% of disabled men didn't attend the school.

In Zimbabwe,children with disabilities live under especially difficult,challengeable circumstances and are vulnerable as they live with negative attitudes,beliefs,customs, etc.[6]


According to statistics, around 83% of women have been unemployed who have disabilities while about 74% of disabled men population have been unemployed.

It is a common perception within Zimbabwe that disabled people are passive,inactive,economically inactive and unproductive and therefore constitute a "burden" upon the society.[7]


Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in the world to enact disability discrimination legislation.[8][9]

Zimbabwe ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol on 23 September 2013, thereby becoming the 135th state party to ratify the Convention and its protocol.Zimbabwe is the State Party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to the Rights of the Child.[10]

The Disabled Persons Act is the primary law that addresses disability in Zimbabwe.This act provides for welfare and rehabilitation of PWDs.[10]

The mental health provides for the consolation and amendment of the law relating to the care, detention and aftercare of persons with mental disabilities for the purpose of treatment.[11]

Health care challenges[edit]

Many disabled individuals are unable to access health care due to the limited number of clinics and the distances they need to travel in order to get to a doctor. Some public transport providers force wheelchair users to pay extra to ride.[2](pp4–5)


There are a few organisations in Zimbabwe which represent and advocate for disabled people. They are

  1. Alive Albinism Initiative, looks out for the welfare of Persons With Albinism in Zimbabwe. The organization aims to ensure that Persons With Albinism are economically empowered.
  2. Association of the Deaf in Zimbabwe -Representative organisation for Persons with deafness and speech functional disabilities.
  3. Council for Blind - This council plays a role with regards to persons with visual impairments.
  4. Danhiko Project - Educational and vocational training institution for persons with disabilities.
  5. Disabled Women Support Organisation - Advocates for rights of women with disabilities.



Zimbabwe has been competing at the Paralympic Games since independence in 1980; it had previously competed as Rhodesia at the 1972 Summer Paralympics. Zimbabwe was absent from the Games in 1988 and 1992, returning in 1996 with a two-man delegation, and has competed at every edition of the Summer Paralympics since then. It has never entered the Winter Paralympics.[12]


Zimbabwe competed at the Deaflympics only once with making their debut at the 1993 Summer Deaflympics.[13] The delegation consisted only 2 athletes from Zimbabwe to take part in its maiden Deaflympic appearance.[14] Zimbabwe has never won a medal at the Deaflympics.


  1. ^ User, Super. "Zimbabwe". www.adry.up.ac.za. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  2. ^ a b Rugoho, Tafadzwa; Maphosa, France (31 January 2017). "Challenges faced by women with disabilities in accessing sexual and reproductive health in Zimbabwe: The case of Chitungwiza town". African Journal of Disability. 6. doi:10.4102/ajod.v6i0.252.
  3. ^ "PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  4. ^ "Disabled persons — discrimination, remedies". NewsDay Zimbabwe. 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  5. ^ "UNICEF: Disabled Zimbabwe Children Face Serious Challenges". www.voazimbabwe.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  6. ^ "New Constitution disability friendly | The Chronicle". www.chronicle.co.zw. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  7. ^ "900 000 live with disability". Weekend Post. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  8. ^ "Being a Zimbabwean Woman with a Disability | Her Zimbabwe". Her Zimbabwe. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  9. ^ "Spare a thought for the disabled | The Herald". www.herald.co.zw. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  10. ^ a b "Zimbabwe (Country Reports) [2014] ADRY 14". www.saflii.org. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  11. ^ Mugumbate, Jacob. "Disability in Zimbabwe under the New Constitution: Demands and Gains of People with Disabilities". Southern Peace Review Journal (Special Issue in association with OSSREA Zimbabwe Chapter).
  12. ^ Zimbabwe at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  13. ^ "Countries | Deaflympics". www.deaflympics.com. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  14. ^ "Games | Deaflympics". www.deaflympics.com. Retrieved 2018-05-22.