Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award

2014 Award: Dr. Zephania Matanga

What follows is an excerpt from Mascilline Hama’s presentation of the 2014 Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award.

It is my pleasure to present this year’s Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award. This is the 14th year that MCIC is recognizing a volunteer that has contributed greatly to MCIC.

Before telling you about this year’s recipient , here is a brief background to this award. The award is named for Paul LeJeune. Paul was a valued member of MCIC’s Overseas Projects Committee from 1992 until his death in 1997. It was in large part due to Paul’s insight and persistence that MCIC’s guiding principles include a strong commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities. Paul was a powerful advocate for persons with disabilities in Canada and internationally. He maintained a strong vision of what it means to live independently. In addition to his work with MCIC, he volunteered with many other organizations.

Paul loved life and was so enthusiastic about his work it was an enlightens opportunity to have worked with him. Besides his numerous involvements and achievements, Paul was devoted to his family and friends, and to all in need no matter what race, religion or social standing.

This year’s recipient of the Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award is a long serving volunteer the MCIC , and has many of Paul Lejeune’s ideas and commitments towards the disability community. He is a powerful advocate for persons with disability both in Canada and internationally.

This year’s recipient has been a volunteer with MCIC since 2007 as a board member. Dispute his disability, which he has had since the age of 5, he has not let anything slow him down. After getting his degree and moving to Canada, he has devoted his time exploring ways to remove barriers and enable persons with disabilities in Canada and internationally to prosper.

The recipient is currently the National Executive Director of a locally based organization(the Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre Inc (CMDCI), an organization), focused on enabling the full participation of persons with disabilities in Canadian and international societies. (CMDCI) The organization is trying to achieve this by providing educational, skills training and job opportunities for persons with disabilities, through science and technology (accessible software, solar power). He is currently also a part-time instructor at University of Manitoba.

Having had the opportunity to visit one of his project in Zimbabwe, where efforts are being made to create an accessible environment at a school, I was awed by the respect afforded him and the pride the community has in both his accomplishments and what he is trying to achieve. (This community is where he was born and continues to have a great love for).

On behalf of the Board of MCIC it is my great honour to present the 2014 Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award to Dr. Zephaniah Matanga.