Martin Gondwe is a disability rights self- activist who has chosen to focus on the rights to education for children with disabilities in Nakonde district in Zambia Muchinga province on the border with Tanzania. He prides himself in serving the vulnerable and disadvantaged in rural communities in a bid to address the widespread myths and misconceptions many have about disability.
Born in 1987 with a physical impairment, Martin is a founder of disability youth led organization called Nakonde forum for persons with disability and also coordinates various disability activities in Muchinga province under the umbrella of disability sport federation of Zambia. He is also currently serving as a trustee for Zambia United States Exchanges Alumni Association for Muchinga province.
Apart from winning an award at MUCHO festival – an event organized by Muchinga corridors of health and environmental management in recognition for the contribution he made in advocating for persons with disabilities and their increased participation in Governance Issues in southern, central and eastern Africa. Martin was nominated by the Nakonde area member of parliament to sit on the constituency development fund (CDF) committee to represent persons with disabilities and civil society organizations.
Martin is an entrepreneur and fish farmer and has ambitions of entering the international market. He raised his capital from selling sausage and fresh fish. His story is another demonstration of the potential of persons with disabilities to contribute to national development and a reminder to leaders to provide platforms for persons with disabilities to be heard.
– I realized that I could make money out of what am passionate about. With inspirations and encouragements, I got from my Mom and the family served as an eye opener and I realized that one doesn’t always need a white collar job to make a living especially for us persons with disabilities. You can always become your own boss despite your disability.
– As a person with a disability it’s an honor to see my personal vision to be a role model person with a disability and disability leader in Nakonde and Muchinga province at large and beyond progressively become a first person with a disability to become a successful fish farmer. My encouragement to my fellow persons with disabilities is not to give up in life but to venture into various entrepreneur activities especially fish farming. Despite challenges persons with disabilities face they can succeed in life. Hence the reason I decided an alternative career choice then later pushed myself to start a business in fish farming.
Story from the CBID Stakeholder Networking in Zambia Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 3.