During a two-day disability awareness
training at the Brikama Red Cross office last week Tuesday, People with
Disability (PWD) demanded for proper treatment to value their rights as
The awareness training was organized by Start Now Organization and was designed to build awareness of service providers on the importance and need for inclusion of persons with disabilities in various workforce and institutions.
Government and private sector participants and community leaders raised concerns that the rights of persons with disabilities should be respected by according them the proper treatment they deserve both at home and work places.
Start Now Organization director, Alieu Jaiteh stressed that persons with disabilities need support and should be respected, saying in some cases, offices don’t bother to employ disabled people. “It is sad when we see people making us exceptional. Sometimes head of institutions feel big to come downstairs to meet us because we couldn’t reach their office up which would require us to go through the stairs we couldn’t,” he said.
Mr. Jaiteh acknowledged that some people with disabilities are not offered job opportunities, saying, “We deserve equal treatment or more like the abled persons. We want the government to help make learning materials accessible to us.”
He thus appealed to the Ministry of Information to facilitate their access to television employment as sign language interpreters. “The deaf people should have access to information in our televisions and without the interpreters; they will not have any information from the state television.”
Disability right activist Charles Degold Gomez reiterated that they need support, recognition, understanding and acceptance from the general public. “Sometimes when persons with disabilities search for job, some of the managers would say people with disabilities do not possess the education they needed.”
“Many are of the believe that persons with disabilities are not as productive as other workers and hiring them only increases workers compensation insurance rates”.
Mr. Gomez said people with disabilities are equally competent and productive, with comparable skills and level of education as those without disabilities, adding that often times the accommodation required by most persons with disabilities may cost little or nothing.