Jul 21, 2010, 4:45 PM
We commend in the highest terms Mr. Muhammad Kora who spoke recently on the occasion of world disability day and asked the police to desist for arresting people with disabilities who are begging on our streets. These people are, in many cases, facing extreme discrimination in our society and have been denied the opportunity to get a proper education or training of any kind. In these cases these people are left with very little choice but to go out on the streets and beg for enough money to put food in their bellies.
Everybody understands that the police have a very important job to do but we would appeal to them to bring some understanding to the process in cases such as those mentioned above.
All over the world people with disabilities face very tough challenges and nowhere is this truer than in developing countries such as The Gambia. A large proportion of our population are struggling to make ends meet and in this kind of environment those with disabilities can often be marginlised or left behind.
This is not to say that this always the case. Mr. Kora has for many years been dong great work on the ground through various initiatives.
There are many other groups on the ground who are doing sterling work in the areas of both rights awareness and training opportunities. In many cases this is being done with the help of various NGO's such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) which focuses a large proportion of its work on disability as an issue.
The government too has been coming alive to the needs of people with disabilities and the involvement of government staff in celebrating world disability day is very positive indeed.
A society is often judged by how it treats those who need the most help. Until now we have been found wanting in many areas but the winds of change are blowing.
We must all work for the rights of people with disabilities and enable them to take their rightful place in our society and play their own vital role in our process of national development.