“Ageing is not a crime; it is a process of human growth. Let us respect our senior citizens in our homes and communities,” were the words said by the Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani.
Kalilani said this in preparation of the 2017 International Day for Older Persons commemoration at Old Airfield Ground in Chitipa, when she presided over the event. During the event, the Minister stated governments’ commitment to ensure that the knowledge and wisdom the older generation has is passed on to the younger generation.
“The current social and economic development is impacting negatively on older persons. Changes in the structures and values surrounding family and community caregiving have resulted in the violation of the rights of the elderly. For example, older persons are accused of witchcraft and other related ills in the society,” she said.
The Minister further called upon Malawians not to undermine the roles and responsibilities of older persons in the overall development of the country.
“They (older people) play a vital role in shaping our societies by sharing and teaching personal values to the younger generation which are important for human survival,” she added.
Andrew Kavala, Malawi Network for the Elderly (MANEPO) country director commended the government for the work it is engaged in improving the livelihood of older persons in the country. He said that Malawi was on the right track to ensure that older person’s rights are protected.
“The Malawi Government is on the right track to improve the welfare of older persons, although there are some areas that still need a lot of work to be done especially in ensuring that older people have the basic necessities in life,” Kavala said.
Kavala called upon the government to work on providing the Universal Pension Scheme to older people, starting with one age group and then roll out the scheme to the rest of older persons. He also called upon governments to ratify and implement legal frameworks that will ensure that older people enjoy their rights.
The 2017 commemoration was spiced with music, dance and drama showcased by both older and younger people.