‘I hope to eke out a living from shoe making’ says exhibitor as people with disabilities stake claim at ZITF

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By Darlington Gatsi

PEOPLE with disabilities were the centre of attraction at this year’s edition of Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.

They were provided with an opportunity to showcase their creativity and innovative minds at the annual trade fair.

ZITF is one of the biggest intra-regional trade fairs in the Southern region offering businesses an opportunity to showcase and create synergies.

Kelvin Mhlophe, a budding shoe maker, hopes the ZITF exhibition exposure will spur his business.

“I’m happy for the experience I had at the ZITF to showcase my shoe making business. I am happy people expressed interest in my business. I hope that if all things remain like this I will make a living out of it and take care of my parents and siblings,” said Mhlophe.

The exhibitions which were in collaboration of Deaf Zimbabwe Trust and USAID.

Another exhibitor Tichaona Moyo says people with disabilities have been shunned in international showcases and hopes ZITF experience is a stepping stone in getting recognition.

“As a young person with a disability. It is difficult for me to show the world my products and what I can do. I would like to thank Deaf Zimbabwe Trust and USAID for the opportunity.

“I want to make sure that I show everyone I can make excellent products. If you look at my bead work, it is of high quality,” said Moyo.

In an effort to emancipate people with disabilities, DZT and USAID embarked on a programme empowering them with business literacy.

“The goal of the project is to reduce poverty and enhance decent work and employment opportunities for young people with disabilities in Zimbabwe. The empower activity is expected to benefit 20 000 young people in Zimbabwe including 13 000 youths with disabilities by end of year 2024,”said Lionel Matembo, DTZ business development officer.