By Frank Musukwa, founder and president of Zambia Deaf Youth and Women
Lusaka University in Zambia has finally given us a positive response to admit Deaf students into Law School. This is a hallmark moment and remarkable progress in the history of our Nation’s 54 years of independence. We shall produce the first ever Deaf lawyers in Zambia.
To my Deaf colleagues, we have to take this opportunity with pride now that the University of Lusaka has opened wide a door for its law programme. Admission will commerce in January 2019. More information will be forthcoming for 100% scholarship covering tuition, living expenses, professional development and sign language interpreters. We continue with our advocacy work. We refuse to continue living a life of refugee status in our beloved country Zambia. This success with Lusaka University has come through the advocacy efforts of Zambia Deaf Youth and Women, with Give Back to Community Zambia.
We had also advocated with the University of Zambia (UNZA), a public university funded by Zambian tax payers including Deaf people. The University of Zambia had responded in a manner that only confirmed that there is bad discrimination at public universities. This contravenes Zambia’s Persons with Disabilities Act N. 06 of 2012 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. As an organization, we have threatened to take legal suit. UNZA invited us to dialogue in October. We hope for a better outcome there and that they will rescind their early position.
When we engaged with the Lusaka University, we assured them that there is nothing they will lose in admitting Deaf students in law school. We would secure scholarship to cover tuition and, if the university has no capacity to recruit a sign language interpreter, then the same scholarship programme would take care of that. They gladly accepted our assurance knowing that it would benefit both parties, a 50-50 win situation.