Miss Deaf Africa and Malawi, Chimwemwe Kamkwamba, has called on the government and other well-wishers in the country to support young people with visual impairments who she says have been sidelined in different programmes.
Kamkwamba made the call Wednesday during a press conference organised by the youth committee of Malawi National Association of the Deaf (Manad) in Blantyre.
“Youth with hearing impairments have all what it takes to excel in different disciplines including arts. I am an example of that, I have shown that we are talented by being crowned Miss Deaf Africa but we have failed to progress at times because of lack of resources and support,” Kamkwamba said.
Her remarks come barely a week after the beauty queen also bemoaned lack of information on Covid-19 to persons with hearing impairments.
“There are several programmes that the government has put up for the youth but these programmes need to target everyone and everyone needs to benefit including the deaf. We are capable,” she said.
Chairperson of the youth committee, Isaiah Mkwaila, said according to a National Statistics Office recent report, there are over 377,000 people with hearing impairments in the country with the majority being youth.
“We are aware that the government established the Ministry of Youth Development whose mandate is to empower the youth in Malawi, but we, young people with hearing problems feel the government is not doing enough to empower us,” Mkwaila said.
“Let the government empower us with focus on increasing awareness and skills in relation to human rights. Again, we want the Ministry of Education to take into account the needs of youth with hearing impairments during this time schools are closed,” Mkwaila said.
Meanwhile Kamkwamba has said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the Miss Deaf Malawi pageant.
“We were supposed to have started the regional contests but with Covid-19, we cannot, since there is a ban on gatherings and we have to maintain social distance. We are looking at just selecting some contestants because time is against us,” she said.
Kamkwamba’s term as Miss Deaf Africa expires in November and her local replacement will have to represent the country at Miss Deaf Africa, a crown which she also holds.