Gambia Federation of the Disabled with the support from the International
Republication Institute (IRI) and Education for All Campaign Network-The Gambia
(EFANET), in consult with the members of the National Assembly drafted a bill
to meet the needs of the physically challenged.
The objective of the draft bill was to advocate for full and effective, social and political participation of persons with disability.
Persons with Disability bill also consists of the establishment of the National Council For persons with Disabilities.
The draft bill also stated that persons with disabilities should have access directly or indirectly of public social services in all spheres of society.
It includes access to information, communication and physical environment such as tactile and sign language, interpretation for the deaf and deaf blind persons, audio tapes, Braille, large prints, making physical environment in buildings, public transport, roads and streets accessible for persons with disabilities.
The draft bill also stated that every person with disability shall be assisted by his or her local government authority, relative, disability organisations, civil society or any other person to live as independently as possible and be integrated into the community.
Isatou Sanyang, chairperson of the Gambia Federation of Disabilities, said that the draft disability bill that was in the process of being validated was publicized in 2012, adding that it was important and timely for the bill to be enacted into law.
“Discrimination and stigma are part of the challenges faced by the disabled in society,” she lamented.
Madam Sanyang added that when it comes to mobility, persons with disabilities face major problems, especially when the need arises for the disables to climb a storey building.
She urged the government not to only provide educational opportunities for the disabled but to also offer job opportunities for them after completing their education.
The disability draft bill was recently discussed at a consultative workshop held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.