Socioeconomic circumstances of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe: Implications for human and social capital development
Children with disabilities are an integral part of Zimbabwean society. However these children face insurmountable challenges that hinder their human and social capital development. The current study used a mixed methodology approach to examine the socioeconomic circumstances of children living with disabilities across the country. Two hundred parents and caregivers of children with disabilities in seven provinces of Zimbabwe participated in the study. Questionnaires and focused group discussions were used to gather data for the study. The study results established that children living with disabilities, especially those that are based in rural areas, faced enormous challenges which made it difficult for them to attend school, which development in turn deterred their potential to become assets in the household economy. Thus, their failure to attain an education had implications for human capital development particularly at the household level. This fueled negative societal attitudes towards these children, including rejection even by some key family members. Ultimately, this scenario compromised the development, among these children, of social capital necessary for improved quality of life. The paper calls upon key stakeholders, including the government, to craft intervention strategies that recognize the particular and peculiar needs of these children.
Keywords: Disability, children, Zimbabwe, education, rejection, social and human capital.