Authorities in Chikwawa have revealed that high levels of systematic discrimination and stigma which the elderly people are being subjected to in the district have resulted into most of them becoming more vulnerable and poorer.
This was disclosed over this week when Golden Age Foundation cheered over 200 elderly people in the area of senior chief Mgabu in the district as part of Mother’s Day cerebrations where different gifts in form of clothing and blankets were given to them.
Speaking during an interview after cheering the elderly, board chairperson for the Golden Age Foundation Mercy Chipyoza said most elderly people in the district continue to be stigmatised and neglected by the very same people they ought to depend upon thereby worsening their vulnerability and poverty.
“As you know the elderly can no longer work as they used to and as such, they become dependent upon others. Most of these elderly people lack basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, it is sad to note that people who ought to look after these old ones are the ones who are also in the forefront neglecting and stigmatising them. This is really worrisome,” she said.
District Commissioner for Chikwawa Ali Phiri shared Chipyoza’s remarks saying the district has over 5000 elderly people most of whom he said are poor and needy with orphans to look after.
He hailed the gesture as displayed by the Golden age foundation saying government alone cannot meet all their needs.
Parliamentarian for the area Abida Mia who is also Deputy Minister of Lands and Housing reiterated government’s commitment in uplifting the welfare of elderly in the country through various social cash transfer programs. Mia who graced the occasion also gave cash gifts to the elderly for their upkeep in her personal capacity.
On her part Najele Kampira, an elderly woman who hails from the area of Group Village Headman Nkumaniza with seven orphaned children in her custody said she lacks basic necessities since she can no longer work and hailed the Golden age Foundation for coming to their rescue.
Stigma remains one of the challenges elderly people continue to face in various parts of the country with most of them being subjected to different forms of abuse such as being accused of practicing witchcraft. About 18 elderly persons have been killed in different parts of the country this year alone on similar grounds.