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Sierra Leone News: Increase disables’ inclusion and visibility – PWDs urged

The Global Disability Summit was held in London, United Kingdom from 23-24 July 2018.

The summit attracted huge global participation from government, private sector organisations, charities and organisation of persons with disabilities. It also resulted in 170 commitments to end stigma and tackle discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Two disability rights advocates, independent from the government of Sierra Leone, and partner organisations of the Lilian Foundation/One Family People; Dr Abdulai Dumbuya, Chair of the Freetown Cheshire Home and Joseph Alieu Kamara, Executive Director of Welfare Society for Disabled in Kambia attended the summit. In summary, the summit was built around four themes: 1) Tackling stigma and discrimination, 2) Inclusion in education, 3) Routes to economic empowerment, and 4) Harnessing technology and innovation. At the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs on Friday 7 September 2018, the participants shared their experiences from the summit with other disabled groups and urged the government to increase disability inclusion and visibility in all government programs. Dr Abdulai Dumbuya noting the four themes of the summit said there is a lot of ongoing stigmatization and discrimination despite the fact that they have come a long way in addressing the issues.  He said the government has committed itself to eliminating stigma and discrimination; provide free quality education for children with disabilities; economic empowerment of the disabled; make available and affordable assistive devices for the enrichment of PWDs; disaggregate data for effective service provision to PWDs; and implement policies and programs related to women and girls with disabilities.  Dumbuya urged the government to ensure that disability issues are visible and addressed in the national plan. He further urged the government to advance the rights and participation of PWDs in all government programs. Joseph Alieu Kamara also stressed the need for PWDs to be included in programs affecting them. He said, “You can’t change my situation without me”. He noted that one key challenge disables face across the country is structural barriers and urged government and partners to put PWDs at the front.


By Edna Browne-Dauphine

Tuesday September 11, 2018.

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